In an effort to drum up more support for their first woman candidate for the St George North constituency, the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) featured an all-female cast of speakers during a spot meeting in Charles Rowe Bridge on Sunday.
Eleven speakers sought to make the case for Toni Moore to secure the seat in the November 11 by-election.
Though Prime Minister Mia Mottley and St Michael South Central MP Marsha Caddle again took the podium as they have done throughout the campaign, it was the appearance of BLP stalwarts Dame Billie Miller and Elizabeth Thompson that got the biggest reaction from supporters.
After lauding the party’s efforts to elect women in politics throughout its history, Dame Billie Miller took a moment to specially thank Mottley for her leadership in that area.
“In all of my 32 years in Parliament, it was a deep disappointment, time and again, that the women of the Caribbean who became Prime Ministers – people like the late Eugenia Charles, [Portia Simpson-Miller] from Jamaica – they did not put women in their Parliaments, into their Cabinets. It pleases me very greatly, when Prime Minister Mottley saw fit to put all of the women in our House of Assembly, not only in the Cabinet There is one who is now the Chairman of Committees; that is one of the most important committees in our Parliament.
“The women in the Cabinet of Barbados are dedicated and hardworking. You can hear and sense that tonight. They are bright, they are not afraid of anybody, and they understand where the Labour Party wants to take Barbados in what is now the 21st century postmodern world,” Dame Billie said.
Thompson, meantime, staunchly defended Prime Minister Mottley against criticism that she was not in tune with the electorate. She said the current Government has done more for the working class than any other administration in recent memory.
“This Prime Minister has moved our foreign reserves from two to three weeks [of import cover] to over six months – the highest that this country has ever had. That is cushion that she created that she is now able to provide all of the grants, all of the financial support, all of the social safety nets [and] all of the benefits. Even unemployed persons were able to go to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and get benefits. That is the Prime Minister that we have,” the former government Minister and diplomat said.
“They would want you to believe that, somehow, this woman is not like rest of us – that she does not bleed, or hurt, or understand pain like the rest of us; that she can walk, like the Democratic Labour Party, and see a country in crisis and do nothing, like they did when we had sewage on the streets of Christ Church, like they did when the Bridgetown Sewage Plant was creating problems…. Mia Mottley has restored the name and dignity of our country,” she declared. (SB)