The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) continues to add new card-carrying members to its ranks, as it seeks to rebuild from the most crushing loss in Barbadian political history, party leaders confirmed.
In the party’s first branch meeting since its 30-seats-to-nil shutout in the May 24 General Elections by the Barbados Labour Party, DLP First Vice-President Irene Sandiford-Garner said 136 new members had joined since then.
The former senator and parliamentary secretary said this showed Barbadians had not turned their backs on the party despite the defeat.
“Since the last election we would have had 136 new members and this does not speak to or corroborate the type of negativity that sometimes you read in the other space…everything happens for a reason and sometimes everything happens at its right time,” Sandiford-Garner said during the St Andrew branch meeting at the Alleyne School on Sunday night.
But Garner, who said she contemplated retiring from politics after the embarrassing defeat, said the party was focused on rebuilding from “square one”.
“We want to see the DLP take back its rightful place in this society as a political party, because as you would understand we are not even eligible now for the subvention which the Government would normally give the Opposition party, so we are now at square one.
“It is a challenge and it is a wonderful challenge, because it brings out the creativity in you and it also sparks your loyalty and it is now that you will know who the loyal Dems are, because they are the ones who will put their hands to the plough and I am glad to say that I have seen a resurgence in our party which boggles the mind,” she insisted.
Sandiford-Garner also refuted claims that the new DLP administration led by president Verla Depeiza was a “stop-gap” move.
All the individuals elected to serve on the executive were qualified and competent, said the former caretaker representative for the St Andrew constituency.
“We have had some people and naysayers say that we are stop-gaps, but I am here to let you know that is not our position. We weren’t stop-gap candidates and we are not stop-gap officers of the DLP, Sandiford-Garner declared.
She continued: “We are all registered, qualified and competent members of the DLP who have committed now at a time when the DLP needs us most and when there is no reward, except to see that our plans and objectives bring the party back to where it should be and that is the goal that we are working towards and that is the reward we want.
Saying the party’s rebuilding was underway, the DLP was moving to set up constituency branch sub-committee having already created internal party committees, such as finance, membership and communications “and we have assigned spots on those committees from various agencies within the party”, she said.
The DLP now has a communications committee, “something we should have had for very, many years,” she said.