by Emmanuel Joseph
Newly-selected Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for St George North and trade union leader Senator Toni Moore, has received the full endorsement of her predecessor Sir Roy Trotman, who says he is ready to return to the political platform to speak on her behalf.
Sir Roy, who represented the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in the St Michael Central constituency between 1986 and 1994, said this evening he expects Moore to win the seat in the upcoming by-election.
Sir Roy, who was replaced by Senator Moore as General Secretary of the powerful Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) just over six years ago, said he was “very” proud of her decision to enter elective politics in order to give labour greater representation.
The retiree recalled that when Senator Moore joined the BWU she had no interest in elective politics and it was he who sought to groom her and another budding union leader, Julian Hunte, to get involved.
He said even up to the time Prime Minister Mia Mottley approached Moore to run in St George North, she still needed some encouragement from him.
However, the veteran unionist said now that she has made the move, Barbados will be better for it.
“I was then, as I am now, that if you are going to be in a senior position in the trade union, and that is the Barbados Workers’ Union, that what was very desirable, in fact what was in my view a prerequisite, was for you to take on as well the additional responsibility of being a political leader,” Sir Roy told Barbados TODAY.
“I am not saying she had to be a prime minister. I am saying you had to offer yourself at the level of the Lower House of Assembly to have another string to your bow and
to be in a position where you can offer even better representation,” the long-serving trade unionist stated.
He observed that while representing people was a great honour, that task could be severely limited if a person was only the spokesman for a workers’ union.
But Sir Roy is adamant that once Senator Moore gets to sit in Parliament, she can then speak at a “deeper, wider level” on issues of health, development and socio-economics which impact men and women nationally.
“You can [therefore] make yourself a better person, make yourself a better representative and to be able to have people see you when you are more expressive of the true power that you should have as a leader. And I think Toni recognizes this now.
“She knew it, but having already at the outset thought it wasn’t her interest, she had then to be encouraged when she was approached a few days ago by the
Prime Minister . . . we had some discussion on the matter,” he said.
Sir Roy said Senator Moore accepts now that she would do better because she would be able to speak from a “better, bigger platform.”
“So I am pleased. I believe the country will be better off for it. I don’t believe that she will be entering her constituency just to be able to win a seat . . . I know she will win the seat…but I think that what will be more than obvious will be the extent to which she is going to be able to use the office of representative to make stronger the role she has to play as the labour leader,” Sir Roy told Barbados TODAY.
He said her political colleagues must therefore recognize that she brings more tools, a stronger person, a better capacity to be able to give better representation. But the veteran retired union leader conceded that there would be the detractors and naysayers, including workers.
He dismissed those who he said promoted the idea in Barbados that a labour leader should be pigeon-holed to only visit places of work to address the occasional wage increase, but that Parliament was something which should be left for the businessman, the lawyer or the doctor.
Sir Roy recalled that in the 1970s and early 1980s many people sought to pull down labour leaders who were a force with which to reckon in Parliament and he said Barbados became the poorer when those leaders went into other endeavours or were beaten at the polls.
“I think we were poorer when we did not have representatives . . . I think it is a great thing that we now have somebody coming forward and being ready and courageous enough to speak for and on behalf of the working man and the working woman in all aspects of our need to improve the quality and standard of our lives. I am proud that she is offering herself and she can count on my full support,” Sir Roy told Barbados TODAY.