The battleground constituency of St. George North has been chosen as the location for the Barbados Labour Party (BLP)’s 82nd Annual Conference that will occur just three weeks before the November 11th by-election
The shortened event will occur on October 23 and 24 under the theme COVID cannot hold us back, and features a keynote address by Barbados Workers’ Union General Secretary and BLP candidate Toni Moore. Outgoing St George North MP Gline Clarke will also be honoured with a celebration for his contribution to the BLP and the constituency that he served for 26 years.
Chairman of the conference John King denied that the decision to host the conference at the St George Secondary School was intended to add further fuel to the BLP’s by-election campaign.
When asked to justify the use of such a small venue at a time when physical distancing is being encouraged, King, who is the minister responsible for culture, explained that the party was determined to take the conference to a constituency where it has not been held for some time.
“I wouldn’t say that the by-election had a major influence on deciding where we were going to go. Every year, we try to be in places where we expect people to have a new experience, so you would see it goes around all the time,” King told reporters.
He admitted: “Certainly it is convenient and fortuitous that there is a by-election at this particular point in time that falls into it.
“But…this is an area where we haven’t had a conference for a very long time, so I believe our decision wasn’t just based on the by-election, it was really about looking at some of the places that we have not been to in the last four or five years, and certainly St George North was one of those places,” King explained.
Though attendance at this year’s event will be limited due to the ongoing pandemic, King promised that all activities would be streamed.
Elections will also be held for some executive positions on Saturday, but officials say that none of the party’s high-ranking offices will be challenged. Public Relations Officer (PRO) Antoine Williams further noted that the nominees, if accepted, would all be running unopposed.
“There have been just a few, but those who have expressed interest are not in any way opposed… and once we receive confirmation, then we will express that in a separate release,” promised Williams.
According to King, the shortened conference will include an award ceremony on October 23 at which party stalwarts will be rewarded for their service to the party. BLP candidate Toni Moore and Prime Minister Mia Mottley will be the featured speakers.
On Saturday, October 24, the party will address issues including a new direction for the political organisation and the wider country amid the ongoing pandemic. This will include presentations from the BLP’s League of Young Socialists, the Women’s League and branches in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Party faithful will also be allowed to present any concerns and/or suggestions on the way forward, to which current government ministers will be required to respond. (KS)