“A grouping of disgruntled former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) members.”
This is how the president of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Verla De Peiza, has described Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley’s recently-named shadow cabinet.
At face value, Atherley’s Opposition group appears to be a melting pot of candidates from several parties who contested the general elections last May. However, De Peiza charged that upon closer inspection she realised that many of the persons chosen were affiliated at some stage with the ruling BLP administration.
“Perusing the names, I see exclusively disgruntled past members
of the Barbados Labour Party. None of those persons are in line with the ideals that our party stands for,” said De Peiza, accounting for the fact that apart from the DLP, the new political group was able to attract defectors from most the parties that contested the last election.
Among the political parties represented are Solutions Barbados and the United Progressive Party (UPP) and the Barbados Integrity Movement. The DLP president told Barbados TODAY that her party was on the verge of launching its own shadow Cabinet.
She explained that this new group would consist of persons who have expressed an interest in representing the party, which failed to retain a single seat when it was ousted from power by the BLP.
“We have not named any candidates, so we definitely cannot say that this group will be future candidates. Right now, we have a mixture of persons who have indicated their interest . . . and there are several more besides them and we are presently going through our process but with regards to the shadow group, that is going to be announced very soon,” she said.
It was on Saturday that Atherley announced a team he said would speak on behalf of the Opposition on national issues. His two Opposition Senators, Crystal Drakes and Caswell Franklyn, are to be spokespersons for the Opposition on issues of national importance. He said three more people would be added to that group of senators at a later date.
The Opposition group also consists of former Solutions Barbados candidates Scott Weatherhead, Alan Springer, Irvin Belgrave, Rev. John Carter and Paul Gibson.
Sylvan Greenidge from the BIM, lecturer Dr Philip Corbin as well as Akil Daley, have also answered Atherley’s call. “This is, for me as Leader of the Opposition, a proud moment. I believe it is for our country a historic moment,” Atherley said on Saturday.
However, De Peiza made it clear that she has no intention to be dismissive of the new political grouping and she was adopting a wait-and-see approach before making any judgment on their relevance.
“We will never be dismissive of anyone’s attempts to represent the country, but I believe that time will speak to their effectiveness. We have to see what their plans are and how they treat to the issues facing the country,” she said.
The former DLP senator also did not rule out the possibility of collaborative efforts between the DLP shadow Cabinet and the Opposition group, providing that their concerns and objectives overlap.
“We will work with whomsoever meets our own philosophical objectives. At the end of the day it comes down to doing what is best for the country,” she explained.