The Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) manifesto being unveiled tonight at a meeting in Oistins, Christ Church, is being written off as a poorly thought out set of ideas which contain nothing to tackle this island’s economic problems.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) said the 56-page document, first made public by BLP leader Mia Mottley at a public meeting last night, is so lacking in specifics and new ideas that it did not warrant any serious analysis.
Speaking at press conference today at the party’s headquarters at Roebuck Street, The City, Ryan Straughn, the candidate for Christ Church East Central and the BLP’s economic advisor, said when compared to his party’s 72-pages of election promises unveiled a week ago, the DLP manifesto was nothing more than a “pie in the sky” wish list.
“Whilst we provided a roadmap for how jobs would be generated and how the programme would be paid for and the mechanism through which we would do so, there is nothing here that addresses the state of the economy,” Straughn charged.
“There is nothing that stands for analysis simply because there is nothing of substance that addresses the current economic situation in Barbados,” he stressed.
The first-time candidate also contended that the DLP had been recycling the same plans since it took office in 2008.
The document, which focuses on food security through agriculture, developing the renewable energy sector, modernizing the public sector and a small business push, does not indicate how a DLP Government in its third term intends to address the country’s falling reserves
According to the last Central Bank report, the reserves stand at $423 million or 6.9 weeks of import, well below the recommended 12 weeks. Instead, in its one-page reference to the economy, the document states that taxes would lessen as the economy grows.
The BLP last night launched a pre-empted strike against the DLP by releasing the incumbent party’s manifesto a full 24 hours before tonight’s official unveiling.
Mottley took Barbadians by surprise when she pulled out a copy of the document during a BLP meeting at Clevedale, St Michael, before dismissing it as falling short in its vision for Barbados over the next five years.
This did not go down well with the DLP, which responded by accusing Mottley of violating election campaign customs, and lacking an understanding of law and order.
“We have no idea how she obtained that manifesto because to me it is in breach of our customs and practices for a party to be allowed to release another party’s manifesto to the public. It reminds me of the tendencies of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party, who reveal that they have acquired Cabinet documents and other official documents and parade them to the public,” Morris said.
“To me a person who would parade a document, which they had not obtained from the source or owner of the documents, is demonstrating a lack of understanding of law and order in this country. To me it does not demonstrate the right way in which we should behave,” he added.
That the BLP was able to get its hands on the manifesto a full day before the DLP’s big launch left many wondering if someone from the governing party had leaked the document.
However, Morris said there was “absolutely no possibility” of this being the case, pointing fingers instead at the port of entry.
“Nobody in my party leaked that manifesto but I would not be surprised that when they came in at the port, open Sesame, someone breached the package. That is a possibility but there is absolutely no possibility that anybody in the Democratic Labour Party leaked it,” he said before going on to question whether Mottley “got it through legitimate means”.
Back in March the BLP charged that the first draft of its manifesto was leaked on social media, but it welcomed the fact that the document was in the public domain, arguing it gave people an opportunity to provide feedback before publication of the final document.