The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is appealing to members to refrain from character assassination in the campaign for the next general election constitutionally due by the middle of next year.
General Secretary George Pilgrim spoke yesterday of his concern over a “regrettable” trend gaining traction in the country, of people attacking the messenger instead of dealing with the message.
“The one thing that is puzzling me about the next campaign is the manner in which people are taking aim at individual characters. Nobody wants to take on the issue, they want to take on the person who is raising the issue and that is going to lead to two Barbadoses. I don’t think Barbados needs to have a division where people begin to throw insults at each other under a pseudonym and anonymity
. . . coming on Facebook and calling yourself something or a blog or what’s not,” Pilgrim told a news conference at the party’s George Street, St Michael headquarters.
His comments were in stark contrast to those delivered by party stalwart Derek Alleyne last month at a meeting of the DLP’s St Michael Central branch at Bank Hall where he strongly signalled that the Freundel Stuart administration was prepared to go into the gutter if necessary, in order to secure a third straight term in office.
Alleyne had cautioned that the upcoming poll would be fought by the DLP on moral grounds and that “this same sex marriage thing” would be brought up.
“It is going to be an election of elections. Who lives with whom is going to come up, as part of that election campaign,” Alleyne said then.
However, Pilgrim’s stance was very much in line with the position adopted this week by Minister of Commerce, Industry and Small Business Development Donville Inniss, who told Barbados TODAY in an interview that he was not prepared to be drawn into any “salacious” debate in the upcoming campaign.
“I am committed to the cause. I came out of the private sector into public affairs because I believe that I had a contribution to make and I think I still have a contribution to make. I am not being distracted or detracted by opponents who usually engage in some very salacious things,” he said.
A day before Alleyne had made his declaration, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had predicted that it was the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) that would throw dirt during the campaign at a level never seen before on the island.
Addressing a DLP City branch meeting at the Wesley Hall Junior School, Sinckler had accused BLP members and supporters of putting out fake news about him and Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley because, he said, they were both regarded as difficult to remove from office.
Without identifying any specific item of false news, though, Sinckler said: “They [BLP activists] intend to put out a lot of fake news, nasty lying information, starting in other places outside of Barbados and migrating into the mainstream . . . in Barbados . . . trying their best to link me and other members of the Democratic Labour Party to criminal activities.”
However, Pilgrim appeared to believe that mudslinging would be counterproductive and insisted it must stop immediately.
“I don’t want to be part of that [personal attacks]. I would ask our members to refrain from those attacks on persons in the country and to be decent and deal with the issues. If that’s how the others want to behave, let them behave in that way. That’s not how we were brought up,” he said.