The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is being warned that if it wishes to remain relevant and seen as a favourable choice to Barbadians in upcoming elections, it must come to terms with missteps taken by the previous administration, or face a similar fate.
This word of caution comes from political consultant and Director of the Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), Peter Wickham, as he spoke during Sundays’ Brasstacks programme on VOB.
According to Wickham, one of the main reasons the DLP is having a hard time resonating with voters, is that instead of coming to terms with clear shortcomings, the DLP is currently in attack mode with the BLP administration, which is not a winning strategy.
“The reality is, the Democratic Labour Party is having a problem getting people to sit and have a conversation with them. I think that the strategic error is pretty obvious – the Democratic Labour Party is in attack mode, it’s attack the Barbados Labour Party. And you know, I have been arguing that you are picking a fight with someone who has 30 seats, and you do not have a single one.
“I have always felt that the strategy to me was not a wise one, and that seems to be what the DLP has done. It comes out blazing guns and essentially trying to attack the Barbados Labour Party, and has not really dealt with its own self,” he said.
Wickham said the post 2018 general election actions of the DLP should have been more reflective in nature, and a watershed moment for the party, particularly after such a resounding loss at the polls.
Outspoken student advocate, Khaleel Kothdiwala, who was also a guest on Sunday’s programme, agreed with Wickham, and stated that the DLP has a deficit of trust among the local population that it has yet to address head on.
“Likeability and trust, people do not fundamentally trust the Democratic Labour Party. They have given them no reason to trust them in the 2010 – 2018 period, [and] they have not expressed any contrition.
“There has been no contrition at all for what the Democratic Labour Party did to this country, and did to the people of this country, those very voters. That is going to be a problem that will continue to plague them as they seek to employ a new strategist and get a new slate of candidates,” he stressed.
Political Scientist Dr Kristina Hinds, also underlined the need for the DLP to reinvent itself, if voters are ever to see the new leadership as being distinct and apart from its previous incarnation.
“This party needs to be very smart and very strategic in who they bring from the old guard, the people who are still attractive, that still resonate with some section of their base and the Barbadian public, but they also have to bring exciting candidates, messages, and things that distinguish them, so that they don’t dig themselves deeper into this hole.” (SB)