Some members of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP)’s old brass have declared their commitment to serving the country’s second-oldest political party in whatever capacity they are needed.
During Sunday night’s meeting of the DLP’s St Philip branches, former government ministers Michael Lashley, Dr David Estwick, Richard Sealy, Ronald Jones, and Dr Denis Lowe addressed party faithfuls at the Princess Margaret Secondary School supported by several former MP’s and colleagues in the Freundel Stuart cabinet.
Party leader DePeiza was noticeably absent from the well-attended meeting.
When contacted she told Barbados TODAY that two other branch meetings had been held on the same night, one of which she attended.
“All three were attended and if the media only chose to go to one, that is their business. That has nothing to do with us,” said DePeiza.
Meanwhile at Princess Margaret, there was explanation given for the absence of the leader who Prime Minister Mia Mottley recently described as a “political night watchman”. In fact, the president’s name was not mentioned once during the meeting.
When pressed by Barbados TODAY, at least three former ministers denied the existence of division within the party and indicated that indeed, they supported DePeiza as President.
“The branch committee put on this event and it is apart of the branch activities. That is all I have to say,” said Michael Lashley.
When asked whether his full support was behind DePeiza, the former minister of transport and works replied: “I support whoever is president.”
Former Minister Of Tourism Richard Sealy meanwhile commended the president for her “beautiful” response to the Prime Minister’s description of her as a “political waterlily” and when asked if he supported her as leader, Sealy said: “Of course. I have nothing to add to that.”
Former Minister Of Environment Dr Denis Lowe added that any decisions on DePeiza’s future in the party would be easily solved through the DLP’s internal processes.
“She is duly-elected, so there is no question about my full support for her. She must be allowed to carry her term of office and if at the end of her term, it is the will of the people to re-elect her as President, then that will be done. Simple as that,” he said.
When asked directly about a “rift”, DePeiza said: “You all would have to assess that yourselves.” She said the party is currently in the process of selecting candidates and was open to all members.
During Sunday night’s meeting, Lashley made the point that whoever was chosen to lead the constituencies, insight from the old guard would be key in securing more favourable results than occurred at the polls in 2018.
“In times like these, we should draw on everyone that we know who can make a contribution to the Democratic Labour Party and to plan and strategise,” Lashley said.
“I will talk straight,” he added. “No first-year law student can come and tell me how to run a case. If someone can contribute, has the knowledge and expertise, we can bring them. There are some persons who never had the experience but can offer and contribute, and you must welcome those people aboard too.”
To rousing applause, he expressed confidence that the party was showing signs of life and energy.
“I sense that the party is ready for battle and the Democratic Labour party is now ready to sit in the rooms at George Street, strategise, come on the streets and start to battle and I know that you all want to put on your boots… an when you put on your boots, we will put on our boots too.”
Meanwhile, former Minister of Agriculture, Dr David Estwick told Barbados TODAY he was on sabbatical and would not be speaking on issues affecting the party or the country. He, however, promised to speak on his record as a government minister and express views on the current administration at the appropriate time.
“What will occur in the next few years, will be managed internally and within the party. The party has a set of organs and structures that are well established and within the constitution. As a result of that, the choice of anyone of us to stand at the time is our decision. Whether the party chooses us is also the party’s decision…. I will throw my full support wherever it is necessary,” he said. [email protected]