Political parties do not seem to be moved by the announcement that trade unionist Toni Moore will represent the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in St George North in the upcoming by-election.
In fact, leader of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Verla DePeiza has thanked the BLP for selecting Moore, saying it has given her party a high chance of winning the seat.
Last night, Prime Minister Mia Mottley revealed that Moore had been the unanimous choice to replace Gline Clarke, who will step down as Member of Parliament for St George North on September 30.
But speaking to the media this morning, DePeiza said she was happy to hear that Moore, the general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, had been selected for the contest.
“It is not for me to have any involvement whatsoever in the BLP and their machinations, that doesn’t concern me. But I will say that of the names that had been bandied about, hers is the best one for us to have to go against. We are very delighted, we’re not going to hide that,” DePeiza said with a laugh.
“I’m not going to get involved in any way in whether or not their process was democratic or not, that is for them to deal with, that is not our concern. I am not either going to get into whether or not she was representing the workers, or representing herself, or representing the party when she did particular things, because the people of St George North will be the correct ones to prosecute her on that.
“I am also not going to be hypocritical and speak about any marriage between the trade unions and politics when both of the major parties have been beneficiaries of that over time,” the DLP leader added.
DePeiza said her party had already identified several candidates and following the annual general conference scheduled for this weekend, steps will be taken to officially choose a representative.
Meanwhile, leader of the Opposition People’s Party for Democracy (PdP), Bishop Joseph Atherley told Barbados TODAY both the BLP and Moore were entitled to make their own decisions.
He said that, ultimately, the people of St George North would have the final say.
“I think the BLP is free to make its own choices with reference to who ought to be candidates to represent its interest in any constituency in Barbados, using the mechanisms available to it in the party. I think Toni Moore as a mature, responsible adult is free to make her life commitment choices with respect to how she thinks she can best serve the interest of the people of Barbados.
“The people of St George North will judge whether or not they think she has made the right decision and whether or not they think she is the person best suited to pursue their interest,” Atherley said.
However, the United Progressive Party’s (UPP) representative for St George North, Ambrose Grosvenor, accused Moore of “shifting allegiance” from the trade union to the BLP.
He also chided the ruling party for what he called “dictatorial action” in selecting Moore.
“The announcement of the union boss – and, up until now, Independent Senator Toni Moore – as the BLP candidate for St George North comes as no surprise to anyone who has even a passing interest in politics. Union leaders are no strangers to partisan politics but in pursuit of the interests of workers; not in sacrifice of them. This instance is vastly different.
“Leading up to the 2018 general election, we saw big business and unions march arm in arm to ensure the BLP won every seat in Parliament. Toni Moore’s championing of the BOSS Programme was another indication that she had shifted allegiance from the workers to the BLP and big business,” Grosvenor said in a statement.
“And the St. George North BLP branch must be left in shock by the dictatorial action to appoint Toni Moore. If democracy is not going to be exercised at the branch level, one cannot expect democracy to be exercised at the higher level. Does this not smack of how the Government expects people to accept republican status in a matter of months?” he questioned.