In recent days since the Budget was delivered in Barbados there has been heightened discussion about the readiness of David Thompson to take over the reigns of leadership. Is the DLP a government in waiting? A point of contention though is the many players who are sometimes referred to as “hangers-on” and the influence that they have on the leaders they associate. In the case of Prime Minister Arthur we have heard names like David Shorey, Hallam Nicholls and Rodney Wilkinson, however in the case of David Thompson there has always been the name Leroy Parris who is Chairman of CLICO Holdings in Barbados. Mr. Parris appears to be a man who Barbados loves to hate but in some strange way has firmly lodged himself as a power broker in Barbados.
Mr. Leroy Parris is the Executive Chairman of CLICO Holdings Barbados Ltd. He is also the Chairman of CMFC’s Board of Directors. Mr. Parris is a leader in the insurance industry and is one of a select group of persons worldwide to have been admitted to life time membership of the Million Dollar Round Table. CLICO Holdings (Barbados) Ltd controls and directs the group’s operations in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
The very close relationship which he is reputed to have with David Thompson has concerned Barbados for many years and some political pundits do believe that the relationship has hurt David Thompson in his quest to assume the highest office in the land. The critical questions which David Thompson will have to answer is whether he thinks the continued close association with Leroy Parris represents value-added and if not is he prepared to jettison a man who has bragged to all who would listen about how he bought suits for David Thompson and was the one who taught him how to dress! It is known to insiders that should David Thompson win the next election Leroy Parris is expecting to be installed in the Upper Chamber of the land, the Senate. So would Barbadians welcome Parris as part of the DLP package or is the distrust of Parris and his strong Duprey connection too much for Barbadians to swallow at this time?
In the coming days and weeks ahead as the country switches from the debacle of the CWC 2007 and gears-up for upcoming elections the The Barbados Underground (BU) expects that Leroy Paris who despite his green verbs is known to be very resourceful will be pulling out all the stops to get his man on Bay Street. BU has learned that the check waving by David Thompson which for the first time in history caused beads of cold sweat to appear on the brow of Owen Arthur in his recent reply to the budget is directly linked to information he may have received from Leroy Parris. For those of us who know the man there is no doubt that we can expect more to come as he seeks to pull out the stops to ensure that his man gets the upper hand against Arthur.
What we can say is that David Thompson with the help of Leroy Parris has been able to amass a fortune and will not be coming to the Bay Street office a “beggar” – remember Owen was offered a job by ClICO when he was leader of the opposition and came very close to quitting politics on the $4,000.00 per month salary at the time. If my memory is correct he refused the job offer from CLICO and was bailed by Keith Rayside; coincidentally a company which is now owned by CLICO and controlled by Leroy Parris.
David Thompson perhaps like Richie Haynes will be leading his rejuvenated party for the “power and the glory”.