The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is experiencing a steady increase in membership ahead of its highly anticipated Annual General Conference starting on Wednesday, which will feature a “hotly contested” race for the presidency.
General Secretary Damien Griffith revealed that the party’s roll, which currently stands “somewhere around 10 000” was strengthened with close to 400 new members in the last 12 months, half of them in the last six months.
He explained that while this did not represent a “drastic” deviation from the traditional increases, the conference appeared to be attracting interest from members who were previously less engaged.
“There is a lot of energy around this annual conference. You can see it, and I wouldn’t judge it in the new membership, but in the return of people who would have been less engaged. That, for me, has been the highlight of the year. The Democratic Labour Party’s base is back. It is ready and willing to hit the ground on behalf of its candidates. They want to see the best outcomes for Barbados and we believe, as always, that the best way to make Barbados better is to have Democratic Labour Party leadership,” Griffith told Barbados TODAY.
“Our membership is very large, somewhere around 10 000 people, but what I am saying to you is that we assess in six-month periods. For the six months before January, there were 189 new members…. I have not done the report but I know…that there have been 200 over the last six months,” he added.
In addition to the highly-publicized race between incumbent president, Verla DePeiza and her rival, Reverend Guy Hewitt, the General Secretary declared that the party would be showcasing its best, including the 27 ratified candidates who will contest the next general election.
“You will be hearing us consistently telling you ‘this is what the Democratic Labour Party stands for and we believe that there is a stark difference in where we stand and where the Barbados Labour Party stands’. They have not offered the country what they promised at election. They have not delivered what they promised at elections and there is a real difference that we need to be able to showcase to the people of Barbados,” Griffith declared.
“You are going to be seeing a number of new faces, who are going to be representing the party in the next general election, making their debuts and talking to you about what the Democratic Labour Party stands for,” he promised.
Members attending the week-long conference can do so either virtually or in-person at the party’s George Street headquarters that has been on the receiving end of a much-needed makeover.
“Because of COVID and the by-election in St George North, we had other priorities at the beginning of the year, but over the last eight months especially, what we did was to start doing renovations, especially to the auditorium.
“The George Street Auditorium used to be the place for entertainment activity in Barbados. Everything from the Richard Stoute Teen Talent [competition] to calypso tents, beauty pageants and shows, everything used to come here and we are putting the property back into a state of repair so that it can do that again. It provides a space for people and community at this time that we can offer at a reasonable rate, but it also generates income for the party to maintain the property and be ready in the political and electoral sense,” he explained.
As part of the refurbishments which were completed with volunteer labour and material donations, the DLP benefited from a new conference room, general staff room, kitchen, office space for the President and another for the General Secretary, which is still to be completed. ([email protected])