The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is sending a strong message to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart that he cannot hide from the Barbadian electorate forever.
Responding last night for the first time to a defiant warning from Stuart that he intended to serve out his full five-year term, BLP Leader Mia Mottley told party supporters this meant Barbadians would be “quaking at the prospect of at least six more months of suffering” at the hands of the governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Mottley suggested that the announcement proved that Stuart had no interest in the well-being of the country, and that his only concern was for the welfare of the DLP.
However, she told supporters while the Prime Minister had every right to determine the date for general elections, time would soon run out on him.
“The Prime Minister has the right to determine when election is called but it does not matter to me now if he calls it early. He could call it in January, February, March, April or May but at the end of the day we know that it has to be called. But what bothers me is that when you listen to this man as far as he is concerned, it is only about what time they [DLP) have left rather than what time the country has left. The country is facing declining reserves, facing mounting debt, the south coast sewage problem, just to name a few,” Mottley told a large gathering of party supporters gathered at the Lawrence T Gay Memorial School last night for a meeting of BLP branches in the northern St Michael district.
The Prime Minister had said in Parliament on December 19 that he would not be ringing the general election bell anytime soon.
Stuart made it clear at the time that his Government’s work was far from done, and he went on to reject outright calls from the BLP for an election date to be fixed and for him to immediately announce the poll.
“I don’t need any law to tell me that there should be any fixed election date because my view is, if the people vote for you for five years, serve five years unless there is a no confidence motion that brings the Government down. You are given five years, serve your five years. Don’t throw back the time that the people gave you, in their face,” he said.
However, Mottley, whose BLP had been anticipating a January 2018 election, said the longer Stuart held on, the more difficult he was making it for Barbadians, who have been struggling under the weight of burdensome austerity measures and social problems such as the perennial sewage issue on the south coast.
She also said that from now on, the Prime Minister’s every word would cost him votes, as this would rally support for the Opposition.
“I want to tell Freundel to talk a little more because every time he speaks he helps the Barbados Labour Party more than we can help ourselves. The notion that Freundel is going to the end has sent people quaking because Bajans cannot believe that there is that much more sufferation ahead of them,” the BLP Leader said.
Parliament is due to be dissolved by the end of March next year and it is a constitutional requirement that elections must be called within 90 days of its dissolution.
With this mind Mottley urged party faithful to be patient, but to ensure the party was prepared for the campaign.
“I say to you tonight to hold strain because whether it is a short campaign or a long campaign, our campaign has started. This Barbados Labour Party is ready,” she said to an eruption of applause from the auditorium.