Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today Inc.
by Patrick Gittens
Competition within political parties can be healthy for a modern democracy. It shows that despite common agreements on philosophy and broad goals, there can be different leadership styles available to the body. A battle for President between Guy Hewitt and Verla De Peiza shows that the DLP has good options for leader. The same cannot be said for the BLP.
The issue of fractions within the DLP is nothing new. All political parties have their subgroups. We must not fool ourselves into believing that our Party is fractionless and politically pristine. It is how those fractions are managed before, during and after an election, that is the true test of leadership.
No matter when a battle for Presidency occurs, there will be those who contend that the timing is off.
Genuine potential leaders compete because they firmly believe that change is needed. Political parties exist to win elections, not to appease the egos of a few members.
They must face reality. If there is dissatisfaction with the current leadership by the voting population then the Party should be concerned and frontally address such. Either by a change in leadership or a change in the style of leadership.
That is a conversation the Party needs to have within. The media and the Opposition will make heavy weather of this contest. The narrative can be controlled by the competitors to the disadvantage of the DLP.
Stay focused on the real enemy. I am not worried about a perception of lack of stability within the Party. That perception can be changed in the blink of an eye once the Party appears to be behaving like a Government-in-waiting.
The question being asked is, “does Verla have the ability to energize and fully mobilize the Party to become a serious challenge to Mia and the BLP?” Each member must ask themself that question and to honestly seek an answer. In so doing, you should look at the alternative.
In this case, Guy. Ask the same question of him. Do not be disturbed by talk of settling down today and not rocking the boat. This is a political Party, not the RBPF or the BDF.
I don’t think the general public is too bothered about such. What they may need is signs of a strong, decisive and energised DLP that can shake off the humiliation of the 2018 defeat and rally its troop into battle. But neither Guy nor Verla can do it alone.
We need a team of determined and focused women and men, young and old, to become a political tsunami on the social, political and economic landscape of Barbados. Armchair talks and whispering do not bring about such a change.
Political militancy would do that. We need to stop making excuses and get into action. Some egos will have to be bruised and some persons may have to be sacrificed but all for the good of the Party.
This battle for Presidency of the DLP is significant but not as significant as the battle for the soul of our nation. Praying for divine intervention alone is not enough. The Lord helps those who help themselves too.
So gird your loins, put on your armour, open your minds and let us march forth into battle. We should roll from this Annual Conference right into a national campaign mode.
We need to gather the wisdom and experience of those who went before (good, bad or indifferent), fuse it with the vision and talent of those of today and blend it with our hope for tomorrow as we create a formidable team to wrestle the Government from a band of misfits and restore decency and prosperity to our nation. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Patrick Gittens is supporter and canvasser for the DLP.