Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister Gaston Browne has said his former Caribbean Community (CARICOM) counterpart Freundel Stuart frustrated the people of Barbados, leading to his crushing defeat by the Mia Mottley-led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in the May 24 general election.
“I expected it. Up to a few days ago, I was telling my security detail that she [Mottley] would win all her seats,” Browne said during a radio programme on Pointe FM in the Antiguan capital, St John’s, over the weekend.
He was making reference to the victory of Barbados’ first female prime minister whose BLP managed to capture all 30 seats at stake in last week’s poll despite a bitter DLP campaign, filled with personal attacks.
“Clearly they have failed and it reminded me of the UPP [United Progressive Party government in Antigua] in 2014.
“You had an administration that could not account for its stewardship and one that would have failed the people,” he stressed.
The Antiguan leader also highlighted Stuart’s decision to allow Parliament to dissolve before announcing a date for the election, saying it was similar to what the UPP’s Baldwin Spencer had done in 2014.
“Clearly, they knew they were losing and in his [Stuart’s] case, I think he frustrated the people of Barbados to the extent where it would have been a clean sweep,” Browne said, even while making it clear he did not want to get into the internal politics of Barbados.
He however congratulated Mottley saying she “is clearly a very capable lady”.
“I am quite sure she will do a good job. I think Barbados would have made a change for the better,” he said.
“In fact, I can’t see the BLP doing any worse than the DLP,” Browne added.
Following last Thursday’s election, the 15-member CARICOM and the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization have in separate statements offered congratulations to the new Prime Minister and her Government on their historic victory.
Following yesterday’s swearing in of the full 30-member Cabinet which was attended by prime ministers Keith Mitchell of Grenada, Allen Chastanet of St Lucia and Dr Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Mottley, who said she had also met for lunch on Sunday with prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica, was also warmly congratulated in a statement issued today by the opposition United Workers Party of Dominica.
“We applaud Ms Mottley for becoming the first female Prime Minister of Barbados and for leading the BLP to the first ever clean sweep of all 30 seats in the nation’s Parliament.
“We also wish to congratulate the people of Barbados for upholding our democratic traditions in the Commonwealth Caribbean in ensuring a peaceful transition of political power in their beautiful country.
“The Barbados Electoral and Boundaries Commission must also be commended for its role in preventing and discouraging acts of treating and bribery in order to ensure free and fair elections as an honest, accurate expression of the voice of the people.
“We therefore take this opportunity to encourage our Electoral Commission in Dominica to emulate the best practices for elections with integrity adopted in Barbados,” the statement issued by the UWP’s president Senator Isaac Baptiste added.