Member of Parliament for St George North Gline Clarke has rejected outright allegations that he plans to cross the floor of Parliament in light of the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) unprecedented 30-nil sweep in last week’s general election.
Following the historic poll in which the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was routed from office, Mia Mottley also emerged as the island’s first female Prime Minister.
Since then, a new 30-member Cabinet with two ambassador-level members – Dame Billie Miller and Dr Clyde Mascoll – has been announced.
Though left out of the Mottley Cabinet, which is much larger than the previous 20-member DLP team led by Freundel Stuart, Clarke was appointed Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.
However, while suggesting that he was comfortable with the Prime Minister’s decision, Clarke said today, Mottley’s decision did not sit well with a number of his constituents.
“ My constituents are not happy. The people who I represent are upset, not me. A lot of my constituents have been meeting with me and have expressed their dissatisfaction,” he told Barbados TODAY, while making it clear that “I was elected a Member of Parliament. I was never elected a minister.”
“It is the Prime Minister who has to make the choices. If I did not meet her eyes, there are other things that can be done. The Prime Minister can appoint and disappoint and the truth of the matter is that I was elected as Member of Parliament. You have to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt all of the time,” Clarke stressed.
However, not hiding his own disappointment, the six time Member of Parliament for St George North and former Minister of Public Works in a previous Owen Arthur-led BLP government, said: “Having a ministry is important. I won’t mind having one but if I don’t there is nothing I can do.
“One does not appoint himself as a minister. You are appointed by the Prime Minister and she may want me to do something else. It is true that it would have been lovely if I was a minister but I can’t tie the hands of the Prime Minister, it is not fair. She may want my expertise in another field.”
Clarke therefore made it abundantly clear to Barbados TODAY that he had no intentions of going against his party, despite rampant rumours to that effect over the past few days.
“I am not crossing no floor, I have never thought of that. To cross the floor because I was not made a minister is nonsense. I don’t believe in it. Everybody would love to be a minister, but it is not possible. I am opposed to just crossing the floor because I have a personal agenda. What will crossing the floor do? It will only be for personal gain and I do not subscribe to that. I was elected a BLP MP. If I cross the floor now I should go back to the people, but I will not do that. There is no benefit in it,” he maintained.
The St George North representative said in the absence of a Cabinet post, he still intended to do his best for the people of his constituency.
“I can’t tell you that I won’t be disappointed because I would be lying. You have to work with what you are given. There are always disappointments in life but I can’t tie the hands of the Prime Minister. I can’t sit down home and cry all the time.
“I did not come to public life to be a minister, I came to public life to help people, not myself. I think I can at least discuss with my parliamentary colleagues who are ministers and put forward programmes for my constituency. I will try my best to help my constituents as best as I can. I will work to provide the needs of the people at all times, given the limited scope that I have,” he said.