The Democratic Labour Party (DLP)’s newest presidential contender is pitching his bid for leadership on an all-out campaign against corruption and incompetence which, in his opinion, characterize the country’s current leadership.
During the official launch of his candidacy at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Barbados’ former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Reverend Guy Hewitt made it clear that his latest venture is more of an attack on the “righteous indignation” of the current Government than on the current DLP president, Verla DePeiza.
“I stand here before you seeking the leadership of the DLP, not as an end in itself but to despotism and abuse of power and privilege,” he declared.
“It is apparent that the last three years under the current government have not been good for our democracy, society and, to a considerable extent, our economy. We are in a severe recession again, the debt to GDP ratio has again skyrocketed, unemployment is catastrophic, and people are suffering. We can do better. Promises made on integrity, transparency and good governance have all largely been broken. We must do better,” the political hopeful added.
Present at the event themed The New Dawn for Democracy were a number of seasoned DLP members, including the former Minister of Education Ronald Jones, former Minister of Health John Boyce, and former Speaker of the House of Assembly Michael Carrington. Among the newer faces were the DLP spokesperson on health, Paul Gibson, and former president of the Young Democrats Kemar Stuart.
Hewitt, however, did not shy away from discussing the DLP’s annihilation at the 2018 polls. Instead, he acknowledged that in the eyes of Barbadians, the party was no longer for the people and he sought to apologize for the organization’s shortcomings.
“As the prospective future leader, I ask the people of Barbados to join me in a process of reconciliation for what may have been done or those things that the party may have failed to do. I assure you that we can and will do better,” he promised.
Hewitt also responded to critics of his decision to challenge DePeiza, less than a week after claiming that he had no intentions of “standing against her”. The man of the cloth again declared that the decision was made in response to calls from persons inside and outside the party for new leadership.
While commending the current president, he declared that the party needed to project its vision, policies, and leadership more effectively.
“We need to renew confidence in the party of the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow. We need to restore democracy, social values, and social cohesion, and create opportunities for economic empowerment. It cannot be that our young, unskilled males are faced with the binary choice of drugs or cleaning the public road,” Hewitt contended.
“Some time ago, the leadership of our country took a wrong turn off the straight and narrow path onto a broad and twisted road. But destruction is not our fate for we know that ‘The Lord has been the people’s guide for the past 300 years. With him still on the people’s side, we have no doubts or fears’,” the reverend declared, as he quoted from the National Anthem.
Shortly after the launch of his campaign, Hewitt invited members of the party into a closed meeting. (KS)