One of Barbados’ leading political scientists believes the new political party which is soon to be introduced is being assembled for purely financial gain.
Head of the Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) Peter Wickham has thrown cold water on the possibility of Opposition Leader Reverend Joseph Atherley forming a “legitimate” political party.
On Saturday at a press conference, Atherley, a former member of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) introduced a team of 14 persons, whom he said would speak on behalf of the Opposition on national issues.
And while he indicated that it was not the launch of a political party, he said that would occur in due course.
However, Wickham told Barbados TODAY he believed the party was only being formed to get the quarter million dollar subvention granted to political parties by government.
“I’m not impressed. It sounds to me like a party that is formed in pursuit of a cause, the cause of course being the fact that they can benefit from the $250 000 set aside for political parties. Frankly, I’m not understanding the philosophical relationship between the individual parties. It seems like a group that was just drawn together on the basis of convenience,” Wickham said.
“You have people for example like the senator, the economist, who has indicated that she is not political, but notwithstanding she is now a senator in a political party.
“I’ve never heard Caswell Franklyn speak of his political allegiance to any central philosophy that resolves around Reverend Atherley. And then we look at Reverend Atherley himself, who was a sworn member of the BLP up until a few months ago, who said he was leaving that party even though he identifies with a lot of the principles.
“An individual who won his seat largely on the coattails of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, having previously lost it on two occasions. It doesn’t appear as though the party has any legitimacy quite frankly, and I don’t know that if it were to face the polls it would receive any attention.”
Wickham said the manner in which the party was formed was questionable adding that he did not get the feeling that it was being established to serve the public’s interest.
“It just seems to be a party cobbled together in support of a financial cause. I wait to be persuaded that it is different, certainly if it is different I would be pleased, but quite frankly I’m not seeing anything in it that tells me this is a genuine, legitimate, political organisation that has been formed to pursue a cause that is central to a philosophy that is expressive like the BLP or the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). I’m not seeing it,” Wickham maintained.
He, however, said he believed those persons selected to speak would be given an ear by the media, similarly to members of Solution Barbados and the UPP [United Progressive Party].
While Wickham said he would love for Atherley to call a by-election to see if his constituents in St Michael West would return him to office on a different seat, he said it was not expected.
“I would love if he did, but I know he’s not going to. Reverend Atherley is no fool and he understands that if he goes back to the polls he would be obliterated because he knows his own weaknesses and vulnerability so he won’t do that.
“But I think on principle it would be a good thing for him to do, because if he did that it would clarify any misconceptions that persons like myself would have…but in the meantime, we are left to wonder about his legitimacy,” Wickham said.