Reform or Die II

Submitted by Ziggy Greene

I was listening to Senator Caswell Franklyn yesterday on Starting Point an Antiguan talk program. The host asked Franklyn about the recent political goings-on in Barbados and in his inimitable style answered forthrightly. The topic turned to the prospects of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) now that it was unrepresented in parliament. Franklyn replied inter alia that the DLP and its founder leader Barrow were one and the same. And since Barrow’s death the party has been dying- a very interesting and insightful comment. I must say I agree with that assessment.

Senator Caswell Franklyn’s interview with Starting Point Talk Show

Thanks Caswell
I wanted to write about the link between founders and the continuation of what they started, especially political parties. In the case of the DLP, this is very crucial as it is facing what I believe is an existential crisis. We have seen the old faces of the party led by their front man George Pilgrim battling with the two year installed Verla De Peiza for leadership of the party.

What does this portend
If the DLP retrogresses to the leadership that led to a 30-0 drubbing at the 2018 polls will its prospect be any different in 2023? I think not. Their ineptitude will be forever associated with the disastrous economic plunge of Barbados whether or not they are solely to blame, whether they inherited a stacked deck or world events did them no favours. That they see it fit to challenge the new leadership of De Peiza is either a failure on her part to stamp her authority on the party or they think the recent kinks in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) armour presents an opportunity for their resurgence. It is not lost on me that when the BLP were pushing investigations into alleged fraudulent activities under their stewardship they were silent but when Chris Sinckler , one of them, was given a pick in a Mottley Committee, they crept slowly out of the woodwork.

How will it play out with DLP party voters
So the choice is between Verla De Peiza and the old guard. Between a break from the past- if you can call De Peiza that but I will in this instance- and a continuation of a failed regime. How forthcoming will the old guard be when they address DLP party voters? Will the warning of Ulrich Beck in his book Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity in 1992, that we make decisions according to information derived from politicians and experts who in most cases are self-serving, ring true?

Really, what it is that the old guard can offer that they didn’t before? That brings us back to Franklyn’s comment Barrow and the DLP are incontrovertibly linked. I am not for one moment postulating that the old guard represents Barrow’s philosophy, far from it. I am positing however that at some point for a party to carry beyond its founders, it must reform and reinvent itself. We cannot do so with the old guard. And just as our society is transforming into a new modernity from the vestiges of the past or as Beck puts it, ” freeing itself from the contours of the classical industrial society” the DLP must pry itself from the shadow of Barrow and the stench of the old regime and transition into a new modernity.

In our first piece on this subject I submitted that DePeiza must articulate these changes clearly and with some alacrity. And with pressure from the old guard and a bye election in St George north on the horizon more than ever these changes are needed now.

See Related blogReform or Die

115 comments

  • Jones wants list of those running for office
    FORMER MINISTER OF EDUCATION Ronald Jones is calling on the leadership of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) to reach out, particularly to the older heads, and give those who are voting the full list so they can scrutinise it ahead of the elections this weekend.
    Jones made the call at a St Michael West branch meeting on Sunday night at St Leonard’s Boys’ School, where he supported former general secretary George Pilgrim, who is opposing incumbent Verla De Peiza for the party’s presidency.
    “I want to say to the current leadership, act expeditiously, and respect the democratic ideals of our party. Remove the restrictions and alterations which you have put in place to debar persons from being candidates or being successful at the polls,” he said.
    Jones said the party did not need internal or external divisions, but to embrace the ideals of democracy.
    “If someone wants to stand for office, let them be exposed to the ballot. Let them campaign and try persuading the membership. At this stage, I am not aware of any annual conference material reaching the branches. I do not know who is running for which office. Why is this? We should not fear contests in our party. Our internal elections have taken [on] national characteristics, albeit at a lower scale,” he said.
    Meanwhile, former Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr Dennis Lowe has called for the party to get its act together.
    “We believe that our democracy can only be a democracy when you practise democracy. I don’t know where we get off criticising the Government for wanting Barbados to be a dictatorship, when right in the bosom of our place we are seeing elements of dictatorship emerging,” he contended.
    “We have to be explaining ourselves as to why it is that a simple challenge for an office should become such a crazy, crazy journey. It is not necessary. Democracy means that we put things up there, we have our choices, we choose who or what we want and we put it before the people who make the decisions, and we live with the decisions until the next general conference,” he said.
    He also made it clear whom he would be supporting at the elections this weekend.
    “I support George Pilgrim. I propose to you that Barbados as it stands today, the challenges it faces today and the things that need to be done today, needs a certain type of leader. That leader must be a transformational leader and set a new way for the party and its members. Transformational leadership is required,” he said.
    (RA)

    Source: Nation

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  • Two ‘out of touch’
    De Peiza ready for challenge this weekend

    by BARRY ALLEYNE
    barryalleyne@nationnews.com
    BRING IT on!
    President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Verla De Peiza, says she isn’t backing down from a fight within her own party.
    In fact, she says she’s ready for the battle after coming in for heavy criticism from two veteran members of the party, former Minister of Education Ronald Jones and former Minister of the Environment Denis Lowe.
    Over the weekend at a branch meeting, Jones and Lowe argued the party’s first female president wasn’t up to the task and afraid of a fight, indicating there could be some rumbling within the walls at their George Street, St Michael headquarters.
    Both said they would be supporting De Peiza’s challenger George Pilgrim at the party’s annual general elections this weekend and also suggested that democracy within the island’s largest mass-based political organisation was under threat.
    “I welcome the challenge,” De Peiza told the MIDWEEK NATION yesterday.
    “It will be a test of which direction the party membership wishes to take. I am prepared to press forward with the reforms necessary to make the party both functional and relevant. And I am willing to work with all who wish to work,” she added.
    Both veterans
    Regarding the criticism of how the party’s business had been done during the last 24 months, the president claimed both of the veteran members were out of touch.
    “As former MPs, they are automatically members of General Council. No one could stop them from participating,” De Peiza noted.
    The attorney at law said that during the national lockdown when the country was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic between April and June, party meetings were held via Zoom with the rest of the world.
    “Since the lockdown, we experimented with a mixture of online and in-person meetings. However, neither comrade Jones nor Lowe have availed themselves of the privilege for the past two years. And clearly, they also did not keep abreast of developments. They, therefore, were unaware of the reforms made and find them not to their liking,” she said.
    “So what we have is a clear dichotomy: those who acknowledge that changes needed to be made and got down to business; and those who want the old ways of doing things to remain. This is why I welcome the challenge,” said De Peiza.
    Pilgrim, a former general secretary of the party, has also been critical of De Peiza’s performance since taking up the mantle after its 30-0 thumping at the polls in May 2018.
    Jones also questioned the absence of executive meetings and queried why no material had been circulated among members before the conference, scheduled to start Friday and end Sunday.
    Lowe said a new agenda should be put in place for the DLP and all pathways for prospective new members should be cleared. He also said the party and country needed “a certain kind of leader”.

    Source: Nation

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  • @Hal

    do overseas Bajan have a say in general elections?

    BTW when is the referendum?

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  • @David

    this is shaping up like a fight between Tweedledee and Tweedledem

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  • @ Greene

    No. They do not, although Guyanese used to. I asked about the referendum.

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  • @Hal,

    i asked that to indicate that the referendum will follow the same path as a general election with regard to the voting rights of overseas bajans.

    sorry, unless you are in Bim and registered to vote i doubt you will have a say

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  • @ Greene

    I thought you were, but a referendum is different to a general election. The referendum is about changing the nature of Barbadian society.
    It also raises more important points. What qualification does one need to vote in Barbados. Is it citizenship? Residence? Paying t axes, as Owen Arthur once said? Is it birth? Is it age? What is it, apart from being in Barbados and being on the electoral register? What about prisoners? We know, according to the CCJ, that citizenship is not the test.

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  • a citizen, or a resident for the purposes of voting as was the case in the last election, registered to vote and in Bim at the time.

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  • @ Greene

    So, if you are a citizen,, on the electoral register, but live outside Barbados, then you are eligible to vote? What about postal votes? What about overseas votes a la the US, UK, Australia and formerly Guyana? A referendum is not a general election.
    Give you an example, EU citizens can vote in UK general elections, but not in local elections. I am sure there is a logic there.

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  • i believe the same laws that govern the normal voting process will be in effect for a referendum- no postal ballots and no voting from overseas. but then again i dont think we have ever had a referendum in Bim.

    i dont favour referenda BTW

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  • “do overseas Bajan have a say in general elections?
    BTW when is the referendum?”

    There is no referendum
    DLP are trying to keep blacks in the place
    like rightwing whites do with obama

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  • @David

    “The BLP bringing Toni Moore would be a mistake by the BLP”

    are you still maintaining that position?

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Greene

    Yes, she will win but ..

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  • Barbados has no shame, this is how it treats its Black people, they never have money for their own, but can always find millions of dollars for minority thieves and frauds..,,and the lawyers are disgusting, they can always find ways and means to expedite cases for minority criminals but not for their own people and always act as though their begging…..shite lawyers…..over 40 years and the case is still not resolved and this clown believes he is doing something for a beggar..over 40 years don’t seem like a lot of time to that walking dead..

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/09/25/nurses-decades-dilemma-could-soon-end/

    “Richard rejected any notion that little was being done by him to speed up the process of closing the case which arose out of incident in which Wilkinson fell and sustained back injuries while on duty at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in April 1981.”

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