There are rumblings in George Street over a move that will extend Verla DePeiza’s term as Democratic Labour Party (DLP) president to two years, ensuring she will lead the party into the next general election, Barbados TODAY has learned.
But the change, which was made at the DLP’s annual conference last weekend, is not sitting well with some members who described the development as an effort to shield the newly re-elected president from another leadership challenge in the interim.
While the motion was unanimously carried, party members claimed the vote was taken at a time when less than two dozen people were present.
When contacted on Wednesday, newly elected DLP General Secretary Derek Alleyne confirmed that DePeiza’s term of office would now run for two years instead of one. But he rubbished “conspiracy theories” which now surround the developments.
Alleyne told Barbados TODAY: “The election will now be held every other year. Instead of every year, it will be two years. A resolution was sent to the conference, a vote was held and the vote was affirmed. It was carried unanimously. I don’t know whether there were 50 people or 150, but the report will show.”
The General Secretary said that he had only been appointed in the position for a few days and was awaiting a conference report that would provide further clarity on the matter.
“I wouldn’t know what conspiracy theories would be in anybody’s head, but our party is run by its members and there is a process of resolutions brought to conference and the members get to vote on the resolutions. They are either carried or they are defeated. I don’t know about any other conspiracy theory that anyone could identify. I wouldn’t know anything about these things,” he insisted.
Alleyne explained that the annual elections were deemed by some to be too hectic of an exercise to carry out on an annual basis and there were very few institutions that hold elections so frequently.
“I think this thing was being mooted a long time ago about extending the elections to two years. Elections come with costs, elections come with organisation, elections come with all sorts of things
“Other institutions like the National Union of Public Workers are also thinking about… making it every three years. The Barbados Labour Party is every two years, that is almost the norm now. We are one of the very few institutions that have elections every year.”
The development paves the way for DePeiza to lead the Dems into the next general election that is constitutionally due in 2023, but can be called any time sooner by Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
Party watchers said the term extension could stabilise the party after a particularly controversial leadership contest in which the incumbent and her challenger, Reverend Guy Hewitt, traded punches in the public domain on numerous occasions.
When contacted on Wednesday, DePeiza said she was busy, but would make herself available for comment at the earliest opportunity. ([email protected]