Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo has charged that the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has lost its way and no longer has the interest of workers at heart.
Addressing the weekly lunchtime lecture of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) at the party’s headquarters on George Street, St Michael, Byer-Suckoo also contended that the DLP was the true party of the masses and its record in labour reflected this.
The Government senator suggested that the BLP was more progressive in the two decades following the 1937 disturbance, based on the labour legislation it had enacted, but over the last 50 to 60 years it was the Dems who were engaged in the form of social engineering that made Barbados one of the most developed countries in the region.
“The other party has lost its way. We know where they started, we know what they have done at the outset, but they have aligned themselves more with business. They have not got the political will to act on behalf of the masses. Their claim to fame when you look at the masses is the Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act. That is the only thing that they can claim they have done for the masses in the last 50 years. They have not been looking after the interests of the people,” Byer-Suckoo told party supporters, while arguing that in the recent past the DLP had enacted several pieces of labour and social legislation that enhanced the quality of life of average Barbadians.
She argued that in spite of the unstable economic situation facing the country the DLP had been able to look after the needs of the society to ensure Barbadians can dream and realize their full potential.
“That has always been the dream of this party. That has always been at the core of everything our founder the Right Excellent Errol Barrow has articulated in all his speeches. It was about creating a society where citizens can live to their fullest. That is what it has been all about and we have carried on that vision, we have carried on that legacy,” Byer-Suckoo said, while boasting that this had been a great week for the labour movement with the approval of the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Bill by the Senate.
She said while many Barbadians saw no real philosophical differences between the two major parties, this perception was far from the truth, as she listed a number of legislative successes of the ruling party, including the Employment Rights Act, the new Shops Act and the amendment of Holiday with Pay Act, as well as the establishment of a minimum wage board, to press home her point that the Bees and the Dees are different.
“I know you have heard people say that there is very little difference between the DLP and the BLP. They would say six of one and half a dozen of the next. Somebody used the expression it could be Pepsi or Coke. Some people would say that is the two parties we have in Barbados. That is something as members of this party that we know is not true. If we accept that view then why are we here? Why are you supporting the party if you buy into this notion? It is not Pepsi or Coke, there is a big difference between the two parties,” she insisted.