After suffering a humiliating defeat in the May 24 general election, the once mighty Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is clawing its way back from the proverbial political wilderness.
Key to this process, newly elected President Verla De Peiza said yesterday, would be an internal retreat slated for next month, to be followed by a series of town halls in November.
“In October we have a retreat planned and the date will be announced shortly. Members will come together in caucus where we will be making firm decisions about how we go forward.
“That will be followed thereafter in the month of November with actual town hall meetings where we interface with the public. Not speaking to them, but interfacing with them,” she revealed during Sunday’s edition of Down to Brasstacks.
De Peiza, the first woman elected president of the 63-year-old DLP, took over the party reins at its annual general conference on August 12.
Since then, she said the process of rebuilding had started for the party which was swept from office in spectacular fashion in an election in which the Barbados Labour Party claimed all 30 seats.
“The entire process from the bottom up has already started. We have had the initial meetings . . . . We have set up some, not all committees, and overtime, but in a short time, we expect to have a full package that we can present the nation,” she said, adding that “we likely will not be presenting the package one time, but as we polish our offerings, we will be coming to the nation with what this new face of the Democratic Labour Party has to offer”.
De Peiza declined to say who would be the new face of the party, though revealing that some former Government ministers would no longer be at the forefront.
“Several of the former members have said that they are in retirement,” she revealed, though declining to disclose any names, explaining that she did not have their permission to do so.
De Peiza, who has been described by some political pundits as “a stop gap”, signalled that she would not be distracted and that her work over the next year would speak for itself.
“I think that everybody is aware that coming into a new job there is a honeymoon period and that there will be high scrutiny . . . . What that means is that there is a high awareness from the beginning that failure is not an option,” the attorney-at-law, who was defeated in her last two outings at the polls, said.
“There is every intention to make this year count . . . and what is incumbent upon me is to equip myself well in this first year so that they will be happy to keep their confidence in me,” added De Peiza as she also addressed calls for her to pursue a new political riding after two failed attempts to win the Christ Church West constituency.
While not ruling out the move to another seat, De Peiza said it would not be easy to “jump ship from Christ Church West”.
“It would not be an easy decision because of what has already been invested there, but I have to take on board everything. I have to take on board my teams locally, my teams nationally. I am president of the DLP but the candidate selection process will apply equally to me as it will to everyone else. So while I am in Christ Church West and I will remain their caretaker for the time being, the decision to move is not going to be an easy one if it comes down to that,” she said.