A cadre of young people capable of standing for Parliament under a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) banner is being raised for the next general election due in 2023, DLP president Verla DePeiza has said.
But despite declaring her confidence that the future of the party – wiped out in the 2018 polls – is “secure”, the DLP leader is so far mum on the identities of the would-be political contenders.
She said: We will allow some level of confidentiality to those persons who have indicated their interest because of the type of work that they are in.
“However, I am certain this has not stopped them from stepping forward.”
The party’s youth arm, the Young Democrats, is also reporting a significant surge in interest and membership over the last few months, she added.
At a meeting at the party’s George Street headquarters, DePeiza said she was “heartened” at the number of young people who have formally indicated their interest to represent the Dems at the next general election.
She said: “This party’s future is clearly in good hands and anytime you have young persons who are willing to front for the party, then you know that your future is secure.”
In a veiled reference to the governing Barbados Labour Party, the DLP president stressed that unlike “the other party”, the candidate selection process would not be widely publicized, neither would there be “busloads of people” turning up at the meetings.
Nevertheless, she said that some of the party’s branches had already started the process and promised that names would be announced in the “next few months”.
DePeiza declared: “Our young people are not shirking their responsibility to the party.
“Our young democrats recently hosted a panel discussion here and it was a most professional outfit they put on.
“It gave me good courage and I was well heartened about how they managed themselves even with a difficult situation on the day.
“That gave me all that I needed to know to confirm for me that this party’s future is secure.”
In a recent newspaper article, prominent pollster Peter Wickham suggested that last week’s conviction of former DLP commerce minister Donville Inniss was a clear indication that the DLP should let go of its old guard of political leaders.
But according to Kemar Stuart, president of the Young Democrats, a shift to a new table of DLP figures could soon become a reality as over the last few months. He declared scores of young people across a number of professions have been expressing interest in joining the party.
He told Barbados TODAY that among the newcomers are agriculturalists, banking and finance professionals, economists, cultural practitioners and young attorneys.
Stuart said: “The Young Democrats has not been active for close to 600 days before I took up the presidency so we basically started with around 20 persons, but now we are going past 60 persons actively involved. Daily we are adding new persons to the general membership and in the executive as well.”
He explained that his vision for the youth arm is to assist in training future leaders and expressed hope that in an election someday soon, at least ten of the 30 candidates on the DLP’s slate would come from the Young Dems.
He told Barbados TODAY: “We have persons who are more than capable.
“I an in the last election and we have Young Democrats who are qualified up to the doctoral level.
“Some people still need training and we are going to work with them to develop them to the next stage but we will work with them one step at a time and we will get there without leaving anybody behind.”