Former St. George North MP Gline Clarke has identified numerous “fundamental errors” made by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) that led to the defeat of its “misled” and “poorly managed” candidate Floyd Reifer in Wednesday’s by-election.
Following weeks of campaigning with the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) victorious candidate Toni Moore, Clarke scolded the “Dems” for the tactics used in their effort to win over the rural constituency that he held for 26 years.
While on Starcom Network’s Down to Brass Tacks radio call-in programme, Clarke slammed Reifer’s boycott of a national debate and his campaign focus on Moore’s trade union leadership as key missteps that weakened his bid.
“Choosing not to debate was a fundamental error, because Parliament is about debating and I have always said to my people – I am a parliamentarian and you pay me to speak. You must use all opportunities to talk and debate. Those parties that did not participate in the debate went wrong,” Clarke contended.
He then dismissed attacks from former union leaders such as Undine Whittaker, Walter Maloney and others who criticized Moore’s leadership of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU).
“That was bad…to take leaders who have never won a contest and you bring them here to say that a person going in as a union boss is wrong, especially when you know that other general secretaries ran for political parties,” the longstanding MP argued.
“I thought it was a very weak point and people did not see it,” Clarke added.
He said that for Moore, the emphasis would now be on using her platform in the Lower House of Parliament to stand up for workers. He also expressed confidence that this was the intention of the party when they selected her to contest the St. George North seat.
“In a mature political organisation, you must be able to look at both sides and there is nothing wrong with speaking on the workers’ behalf in Parliament,”
Turning his attention back to the DLP’s campaign, Clarke suggested that the opponents failed to take proper note of statistical data, while fixating themselves on too many “pie in the sky” issues.
“I think we need to look at where we are going in the future. Obviously I must say that Floyd is not a bad candidate. I think he was misled and I thought that he could have been managed better. But that’s the choice that he made and I hope he will continue because he is a young person,” Clarke added.
Late last night Moore was declared winner of the highly-anticipated poll amassing 3154 of the 4748 votes cast. Reifer secured 1327.
Following his election fight alongside Moore, the retired MP’s sights are now firmly set on his appointment as Barbados’ High Commissioner to Canada.
There, his focus will be on elevating bilateral partnerships beyond the workers’ programmes like the farm labour and hotel worker initiatives. Instead, Clarke vowed to focus more on facilitating investment in Canada from local businesses.
“We have produced a lot of rum in this country over the years and we have not been able to send enough investment in terms of letting the world know that we have the finest rum in Barbados,” said the longtime Canadian citizen.
“I notice that the Barbadian manufactured biscuits are on the shelves, but only a few supermarkets have them.
“We need to be able to promote Barbadian industry within Canada and around the world and let people know that we stand for something.
“We also have a unique culture… but we have to sell our culture and be able to do it in a unique way, because we must be able to make a living for ourselves,” he added.