Two of the island’s small political parties have congratulated the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration on its overwhelming 30-seat victory at the polls last week.
However, following the swearing of the remaining ministers in Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s 30-member Cabinet yesterday, the leader of Solutions Barbados, Grenville Phillips II, today sought to warn the new BLP Government that it had its work cut out for it in terms of repairing the island’s ailing economy.
“They have a lot of work to do and they have a mandate to fix the economy,” Phillips told Barbados TODAY, adding that “now that the elections are over, we are hoping that before they go the route of austerity they can let all ideas contend as Ms Mottley has said”.
Despite not capturing a single seat in the May 24 election in which the BLP humiliated the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP), which lost all 16 seats it held in the previous Parliament, Phillips said he saw the result as more of a rejection of Freundel Stuart-led DLP than anything else.
In fact, he said he and his team were in high spirits following the release of the results from last Thursday’s poll which showed that Solutions Barbados had started to make inroads with the electorate.
“The public has rejected the Democratic Labour Party with the unprecedented 25 per cent swing against them. They lost quite a lot of support, we gained quite a bit of support. We had no persons and then we suddenly had about 4,000 [votes],” he said, while suggesting that his party would have picked up more support had some of its supporters not voted for the BLP for the sake of getting rid of the DLP.
“My team is very encouraged because a lot of them did not have the name recognition that the other parties had . . . and we have very limited resources,” he added.
Therefore, Phillips said Solutions Barbados stood ready to act as the “informal opposition” to the Mottley-led Government.
“We have agreed to fill that role as an informal opposition and therefore we will be having a shadow Cabinet . . . . We plan to monitor what the Barbados Labour Party is doing and to provide them with our best advice and treat them how we would want to be treated if the roles were reversed,” he said, adding that this was important if the country were to progress.
“We don’t plan just to be nipping at their heels for partisan reasons and trying to embarrass them, because if they do badly, we all do badly, if they fail, we all fail and if they succeed, well all succeed. So our job is to make sure we help them to succeed,” the Solutions Barbados leader said.
However, another fringe party leader, Neil Holder of the Barbados Integrity Movement, was critical of the size of Mottley’s 30-member Cabinet announced on Saturday.
“I would not have so many ministers,” he told Barbados TODAY in a separate interview this afternoon, adding that while “I have no objections to what the Prime Minister is doing and I understand there are things to be done . . . if it were me I would not have so many ministers, but if she knows what her plans are, we would have to rally around her.”
He therefore suggested that the entire country needed to rally behind the new Prime Minister.
“I’ve already called on the country to support the Prime Minister and give her an opportunity to get things going, because she is starting with a brand new slate and she starts with 100 per cent.”
Holder also stated that given Mottley’s long wait to become Prime Minister, she could not afford to become complacent.