Businessman Ryan Walters will be contesting for the post of vice president when the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) hold its 65th Annual Conference this weekend.
Walters, who hopes to represent the St Michael North West constituency in the 2023 General Election, announced his intention to be No.2 in the party’s hierarchy last night.
When contacted today he told Barbados TODAY that he was ready to put in the work in order to help chart the way forward for the Errol Barrow-founded political institution.
“If I am elected vice president I would be happy to learn and develop in the ranks as I contribute and serve. The party needs a combination of youth and experience. I am offering my commitment as I have shown in the past. I will also bring new perspectives, new ideas and a fresh way of executing our initiatives and engaging with the electorate,” he said.
Walters said he was acutely aware that rebuilding the party internally and externally was the No.1 priority.
“Rebuilding the party has a few priorities. While we work administratively to reenergise our members, rebuild and revive the organs of the party, we have to be very focused and strategic in engaging the public. Engagement will come when we speak on issues that have national appeal and when we officially announce candidates who are able to go into the constituencies, interact and build the relations on the ground.”
He added: “We have to do all three activities simultaneously. While each activity will be done at different stages once we continue to progress and improve in each area we will be on the right track.
The political newcomer has been making strides not only in the St Michael North West constituency but at a national level as well. Currently, Walters is the main voice second only to that of party leader Verla DePeiza to be publicly and consistently speaking on matters of national importance. His area is business with a keen interest in the small business sector. Even during the COVID-19 lockdown period, Walters was issuing press statements and countering policies implemented by Government.
The party structure as of the last annual conference was former Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, first vice-president, Simon Alleyne, second vice-president, Andre Worrell, third vice-president, and Nicholas Alleyne, fourth vice-president.
As of today, only Walters and former Minister of the Environment and MP for Christ Church East Denis Lowe have publicly declared their interest in the post of vice-president.
On September 1, Lowe made his intention known. At the time he told the Facebook programme The Debrief TV Show – with presenters Kemar Saffrey, Kemar Stuart, Simone Alleyne and Jermaine Bedford – that he was ready and willing to serve.
“I have been asked to run for two places, general secretary and vice-president, and I am running for vice- president. I have offered myself because at this stage in my political journey I have enough experience. I have understood a lot of what the people in the country are saying and want to be done for them. So therefore I am making myself available to be part of the thinking of the party as we go forward,” Dr Lowe said.
As it relates to the presidency, former general secretary George Pilgrim will go up against president Verla DePeiza.
The party’s Annual Conference starts Friday at 3 p.m. with the election of officers and members of the general council. It continues on Saturday and culminates Sunday with the President’s Speech.