Democratic Labour Party (DLP) presidential hopeful Reverend Guy Hewitt appeared Sunday to be on the hunt for a constituency in which to contest the next general election.
He told Barbados TODAY that he might be looking for a constituency and that while he “was focused exclusively on the presidency of the DLP to get the DLP election ready”, he was again “listening to the calls both from within the party and the country” to apply his leadership competence and passion not only to administrative but political leadership.
He declared that there was an element of confusion in the DLP regarding the presidency and political leaders and felt that unifying the leadership may be necessary. Hewitt hinted at his possible constituency interest saying that he is “a Christ Church man through and through”.
As the party’s St Philip constituency branches met jointly at the Princess Margaret School on Sunday, Reverend Hewitt spoke to the adage that a “week is a long time in politics” in response to questions on his change of position regarding seeking the presidency of the DLP.
He told Barbados TODAY that while he would have preferred to have found an accommodation with incumbent president Verla De Peiza, he came to the conclusion after two meetings with her that common ground could not be found. He said he felt “called to stand up and step forward” given calls both within and outside of the DLP for new leadership.
Hewitt told the audience that he was offering himself as the next leader of the Dems because too many questions of the party’s election readiness could not be answered in the affirmative.
He challenged the audience at the school and watching online to consider whether the DLP has an election strategy.
He said citizens were in search of true opposition leadership to air their views and concerns, which the current DLP leadership was not providing or showing readiness to contest the next general elections.
“Do people know what our policies and positions are? Are our branches energized? Do we have the financial resources to mount successful constituency and national campaigns? Are we ready to offer ourselves to the people of Barbados as the next government?” he asked.
“These are serious questions that we must ask ourselves, but more importantly, that the leadership of the Democratic Labour Party must be able to give credible answers to.”
The Anglican cleric declared that Barbadians now face an absence of true leadership. He told party supporters that the country faces myriad issues, ranging from COVID-19 mismanagement and the Mia Mottley administration’s “rushed” move towards republicanism.
Hewitt charged that the Mottley administration was failing to respond to the public’s needs, as prices for several goods continued to rise consistently over the past several months, with no concrete word from Government on strategies to ease the burden.
“The Government is off the rails and doing as they please, and it is for this party to get itself back into gear, and to be able to offer to the people of Barbados a strategic and viable alternative, to say we can do better, we will do better, and we are ready to do better,” he said.
“While this government is mismanaging our economic affairs, we are struggling to make ends meet. Barbados is ranked the eighth most expensive country to live in, in the world. We know that, because we are going into the supermarkets, we are paying for gas, we are trying to buy feed, we are trying to pay the taxes and the levies that keep going up, and at the same time there is no work.”
The priest and Freundel Stuart administration diplomat who faced public criticism from the start of his candidacy announcement, said he felt compelled to challenge De Peiza for the presidency of the DLP in response to what he termed a lack of leadership.
Said Reverend Hewitt: “I came to the DLP and to the people of Barbados offering myself as the next leader because I believe in our party, I believe in our country, and I believe that Barbados deserves better leadership than is now on offer.
“Contrary to popular belief, leadership is not something you are born with or something inherent. Leaders are made when they connect their purpose and their strengths, with a deep passion to make a difference to the people in the world around them…. I am not born to lead, I am willing to serve.” (BT/SB)