The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has not fallen out of favour with the people of Barbados.
That is according to the party’s outgoing general secretary Guyson Mayers, who today disclosed that there had been a significant increase in new membership following the DLP’s devastating 30-0 defeat at the polls in the 2018 general elections.
Speaking at a press conference this morning at the party’s George Street headquarters, Mayers said despite having no representation in Parliament, Barbadians still saw the DLP as the most viable alternative to the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
He said he believed one of the reasons for the rising interest was the fact that Barbadians were not satisfied with the direction of the Mia Mottley-led administration.
“I know that the feedback coming through is that people believe that Barbadians are having buyers’ remorse and a lot of persons are trying to make sure that this party is ready to face any challenge and any opportunity that is presented to it,” Mayers said.
“I think a number of young people believe that they can do no worse than what they are seeing in the current administration and believe they can do better and they will not have the opportunity to have the voice that they think they need to have in Barbados outside of the DLP.
“Barbados is now in a position where we have other offerings, alternative parties, yet the general sentiment seems unmistakably to be that the DLP is still the alternative to the BLP and people who think they have something to offer to the country will seek out the DLP,” he added.
Mayers said the demand had been so high that the party was forced to reprint membership forms.
He admitted that he did not expect such a speedy recovery for the DLP after it suffered its worst general election ever defeat.
“Maybe I was paying too much attention to the propaganda coming from other places and I was really surprised to see the almost immediate interest in membership of the party after the initial shock, of course, of the elections,” Mayers said.
“We have had a consistent stream of new membership applications over the two years and the last year it might have been higher. The reason why I said I was surprised was because I thought we were out of favour with all of Barbados but I have learnt differently over the past two years. A party with no representation in Parliament, a party that was supposed to have lost so much ground, and yet we are not seeing that reflected in what is coming from the public.
DLP president Verla DePeiza said the increase was not directly related to the party’s annual conference this weekend.
“For the last year, we have been noticing a significant uptick in the application for new membership. We have also seen persons who have not been around the party for a long time…. We are seeing a resurgence.
“The party has spent the last two years making significant changes. We needed to modernize, we needed to reshape our image, we needed to have a different face and offering, and I think that too is a catalyst for persons wanting to associate and re-associate with the party because they like what they are seeing,” DePeiza said.
Regarding this weekend’s annual general conference, both Mayers and outgoing first vice-president Irene Sandiford-Garner announced they would not be seeking re-election.
Sandiford-Garner, who was the DLP’s representative for St Andrew from 2008, said she was also quitting elective politics to give younger members of the party an opportunity to make their mark.
Mayers said voting on party posts would be held on Friday and Saturday and the results announced on Sunday.
He said while the DLP would be adhering to the COVID-19 protocols and only 175 persons would be allowed in the auditorium, the event would be streamed online. (RB)