As another general election nears, at least two of Barbados’ newest political parties are ready to sign on to a code of conduct in keeping with outgoing Catholic Bishop Jason Gordon’s suggestion.
Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) Lynette Eastmond and founder of Solutions Barbados Grenville Phillips II told Barbados TODAY they had no difficulty conforming to the proposed code, which is aimed at reducing mudslinging and character attacks in the lead up to the poll, constitutionally due by the middle of next year.
In response to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s claim that the upcoming general election “is going to be easily the nastiest campaign” ever fought in Barbados and Democratic Labour Party stalwart Derek Alleyne’s contention that it would be the mother of all political battles in which “who lives with whom is going to come up as part of the election campaign”, Gordon, who is Archbishop-elect of the Catholic Church of Trinidad and Tobago and will soon be returning to his homeland, suggested last week that all parties here should sign an election code of conduct.
However, both the incumbent DLP and the main Opposition Barbados Labour Party have expressed reservations in doing so.
DLP General Secretary George Pilgrim told Barbados TODAY that while some members of the ruling party had views on the matter, a policy position had not yet been taken on the matter.
“Such a matter has not occupied the attention of the party’s executive yet. Derek Alleyne’s view is Derek’s view. No one should hold the party to Alleyne’s view,” Pilgrim said in seeking to distance the DLP from the stalwart’s controversial remarks.
Meanwhile BLP General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott declined to comment on the Bishop’s call.
However, during a brief interview with Barbados TODAY, UPP Leader Eastmond said: “I do not have a difficulty in signing on to an election code of conduct.
However, she was not convinced that a code would have the effect of cleaning up the election campaign.
“I am quite sure I have seen a code of conduct signed in the past, but nobody behaved any differently. People behaved just as they did in the past,” she said.
However, the leader of Solutions Barbados suggested that a political code could be useful, even though he argued that it should not be necessary given that politicians on all sides were “honourable men and women”.
While stressing that those who aspire to hold political office should display nothing less than honourable behaviour, Phillips said: “I will support it and willingly sign it, but we have to see what it contains. We in Solutions Barbados do not believe that you should go on a platform and engage in personal attacks.”
“The Archbishop should not only propose the code of conduct, but provide a draft so that we could consider it and agree to it.
“We must get away from just saying what we need to do without detailing how we need to execute it,” the political leader added.
When contacted, leader of the Citizens Action Partnership, Wendell Callender, said he was not aware of the Bishop’s call; therefore he could not make an informed comment. Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) leader Neil Holder could not be reached for comment.