BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The main Opposition Democratic labour Party (DLP) has blamed a non-caring Prime Minister Mia Mottley for calling a snap general election in the midst of a pandemic and urged supporters to boot the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) out of office on January 19 next year.
Mottley, in a radio and television broadcast on Monday night, announced that nomination day will be January 3 and that the polls were being held 18 months before her first term in office is due to end.
She said it was important for a united Barbados to face the new year and blamed what she termed the “silly season” for Barbadians being divided on the future socio-economic development of the island.
But in a statement, the DLP, which was swept out of office in 2018 by a 30-nil margin, described the move towards calling a snap election as “a dark day for our country”.
“Truly we are in the silly season, but our people are not silly. In the midst of a pandemic and Omicron threatening, whilst still under a state of emergency, there is no compelling argument for an election to be called 17 months out, except to be self-serving. This is not what we expect of sound leadership,” said DLP President Verla De Peiza.
“It is clear that the Government of the day has succumbed to feelings of panic and that the nation’s first call, which is its people’s safety, has been set aside to pursue selfish ends which expose our people to great harm and possible death,” she added.
De Peiza said that the DLP is appealing to Barbadians “to seize this opportunity of relief and arm themselves with courage, determination and hope and rally to the polls…to exercise their franchise and send a clear and decisive message to the outgoing Government that their well-being is paramount.
“And, as one people, one Barbados, send a clear and decisive message that the opportunity for change has come. We agree that the nation is divided; but in a climate of 29-1, we must ask ourselves who divided the nation.
“Let us be frank; Mia does not care; Mia scares. But do not let that deter you from summoning every single ounce of strength in your being; indeed, your right and your reason, to do what is best for Barbados. Vote on the day for a change to a Government that puts the best interest of its people first. The Democratic Labour Party looks forward to being your standard-bearer come January 20, 2022.”
She said that the Government’s policies have hurt the population, noting, for instance, “pensioners who took a significant hit with BERT (Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation) suffered further indignity by going through this Christmas season without their pension. We wear our debt like a millstone about the neck on behalf of our children and even their children.
“In making your decision at this seminal moment in our history I want you to ask yourself these questions: Are you better off now than you were in 2018? Are you finding it easier to feed your families? Did you expect after BDS$400 million (one Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents) on EduTech that we would be scrambling with online learning? Hyatt could have been completed by now were it not subject to political shenanigans.”
De Peiza brushed aside Prime Minister Mottley’s statement that in the coming months several projects would have started here, saying “If there were such faith in projected projects in the next few months, then elections would be scheduled after they become reality.
“Warmed over promises will not do this time. Our people will do more than watch this time, because we have learned the lessons of the past, and we know how dangerous it is to have a one-party State.
“Therefore, my fellow Barbadians, this is your moment to have your say. It is your moment to send a message that a one-party State will not cut it. This is your moment to collectively guide this country away from this strange form of governance and government. Together we must arm ourselves with our faith, the guidance of Almighty God and the determination to save our country. Go out on the 19th of January and, with your pens, make indelible mark to signal enough is enough.”
The DLP said that over the coming days it will lay out its case for why “our rejuvenated, young and committed team is best placed to take this country forward; why we must never have a one-party State; and why we must always keep the voices, concerns and aspirations of our people at the centre of our social conscience.
“Our policies are designed to elevate our people and we look forward to the opportunity in the coming days to take you into our confidence,” De Peiza added.