Solutions Barbados leader Grenville Phillips II has dismissed as “nothing but fake news”, charges by former members that he was an autocrat, whose say in the party was the only one that mattered.
Three former candidates of the fractured party came out publicly today and issued a statement confirming a front-page story published by Barbados TODAY on Thursday, June 14 that more than a dozen candidates had resigned and were in the process of forming their own political grouping.
Alan Springer, who contested the St Michael South Central seat, Paul Gibson, who ran in St Michael South, and Irvin Belgrave, who carried the party’s banner in Christ Church West, claimed in the statement that the party’s affairs were conducted on Phillips’ whims.
“For example, it was his decision solely who was or who was not a candidate and this fluctuated according to his mood at any given time. There was a reluctance as well as the inability to move the party forward by establishing the right facilitating structures and processes,” the former members said in the two-page document, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY.
The three accused Phillips of being manipulative, deceptive, inconsistent, and engaging in coercion and single-handed religiosity.
“For example, for a time Grenville maintained a public face of 28 candidates knowing he had demoted a number of candidates to the status of associate members over an internal dispute. So in fact, there were only 22 candidates at that time. This lying to the public was capped by the recent press statement where Grenville stated that no one had left Solutions Barbados, but were
simply ‘taking a break to take care of business’, and that everyone intended signing the contract. This is patently not true,” they stressed.
One of the major points of contention was a contract which Phillips demanded that candidates sign, binding them to severe financial penalties in the amount of
US$1 million if they opt to leave Solutions Barbados to join another political party.
The trio said the contract, introduced in December 2017, was a control mechanism for keeping candidates in the party “and was a carefully enforced way of maintaining loyalty to Solutions Barbados and himself”.
The disenchanted candidates noted that a “final olive branch” was offered by those having challenges with Phillips’ leadership style by putting forward certain conditions for them to carry on under the Solutions Barbados banner.
“Unfortunately Grenville refused that olive branch and instead took the step of removing members, who had tendered their resignations,” the group said.
However, the Solutions leader totally rejected the allegations, telling Barbados TODAY they were nothing but fake news and an assault on his character.
“Its all false, incorrect and defamatory. The evidence proves each statement they made to be false and it is incontrovertible,” he said.
“I went through the document trying to find anything that could be true and I found nothing. Everything is in our constitution, which they voted for,” he stressed.
Phillips said the members had agreed that “I am a good leader”, and he attributed the actions of those who have now made their views public to the defeat they suffered at the polls in the May 24 general election.
“The result of the elections perhaps affected persons in different ways and for these this is how it affected them,” he said.
Despite the fallout, the structural engineer made it clear he had no interest in speaking ill of his former party colleagues, “because they did make the brave decision to run with Solutions Barbados”.
“But when you send people to war some come back with certain conditions and you don’t cry them down, you try and work with them and do what you can. I can’t speak badly of them,” he said.
Belgrave, Gibson and Springer committed themselves to doing “what is best for Barbados” by hopefully forming a new political party leading up to the next general elections.
“Moving forward, one thing that is clear for this group is our commitment to what is best for Barbados and our constituents. We will ensure that we remain a voice to the nation on matters of national importance and continue to give Barbadians a clear understanding of what is happening behind the political and governmental curtain. This will, we hope, evolve into something more concrete in the years leading up to the next general elections,” the statement read.