The re-elected President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Dr Ronnie Yearwood has sounded the call for supporters to prepare the party for the next general elections, constitutionally due by 2027, as he outlined the agenda for reaching that state of readiness.
Indicating that the battle ahead was a “huge and difficult” one that will require the participation of all DLP members, he told members at the party’s 68th annual conference church service on Sunday to “step up and serve”.
“It is time to put down our swords, take off the armour and pick up the plough. We leave the battle of the internal election and it is time now to go and sow the [seeds for the] harvest as we prepare for the ultimate battle – the most valiant and noblest of tasks which is to serve the people of Barbados and to be of service to the people of Barbados – service using that progressive agenda for a progressive party for progressive people. That is what we are about,” declared Yearwood who easily won the internal elections over the weekend.
Outlining the agenda, the DLP President identified five essential elements to winning over the hearts and the minds of the people of Barbados: economic diversification; entrepreneurial and technological revolution; creation of a flexible educational system that meets the needs of people and job creation; protection of civil rights; and the promotion and protection of environmental capital.
“We have to diversify our economy. We know what they are, we just need to start doing things that creates long-term growth, prosperity and sustainable and well-meaning jobs,” he said.
Yearwood said a flexible educational system would allow Barbadians to become successful and better able to live out their dreams while accessing global opportunities.
“We will engage and embrace people’s needs in all the forms that they take. I make no apologies for this. So anybody who is offended can get up and leave now. The Democratic Labour Party will stand for the next generation of civil rights and all rights of all people irrespective of gender, sexuality, disability, colour, class, race, creed – I don’t care. We will defend their rights and promote their rights; they have a place in this Democratic Labour Party,” he declared.
“The other thing we will do is we will protect and promote the environmental capital of this country. These are things we can achieve. These are the goals and things that a progressive Democratic Labour Party can do for Barbados.”
Yearwood said the country was currently divided between the haves and have-nots, the people who could eat and those who can’t eat, the people who can put gas in their car and those who can’t put gas in their car, but the DLP was prepared to change that.
Stating that there was a lot of work ahead to “repair Barbados”, Yearwood said it was time that DLP members pick themselves up, put aside their squabbles and embark on a path of renewal and reset.
“It is time that we stand up for the people of this country and we can only do that as a united fighting machine,” he said, as he urged DLP members to stop feeling sorry for themselves.
Yearwood also called on young people not to be dismayed or turned off by the type of politics they have witnessed over the years, as he promised to place greater focus on the youth.
He thanked the DLP family for their support and for “taking a chance” on him, saying his re-election was an opportunity for him to serve the people of the party and the country and for the DLP to continue the work it had started.
“We are on our way back, we are training to reign. I know that we are on our way back and I can feel that spirit moving throughout George Street and that spirit will move from here to the country,” he said, adding that a part of his mission was to “create a renewed Democratic Labour Party”. (MM)