The annual conference of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is scheduled to be held from 18th to 22nd of August 2021. Although political parties are technically private clubs, parochial decisions taken have national ramifications. In this instance the establishment and incumbent President of the DLP Verla De peiza will be challenged by newcomer Reverend Guy Hewitt IF all things remain the same.
The blogmaster is confident the establishment candidate will win the contest. Neither of the two main political party have shown an appetite over the years to embrace a ‘rock the boat’ approach to doing its business. Although Hewitt is a political neophyte compared to De peiza, his entry to the political space in a short three months has spurred a hitherto lethargic DLP into unaccustomed activity. For more than a decade the DLP has developed a slow to respond culture, inherited from the leadership styles of former leader of the party Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and carried on by incumbent Verla De peiza.
It is unfortunate with 2023 quickly approaching and the possibility of an early bell, the DLP has to be distracted by a leadership challenge. DLPites will explain the situation playing out between De peiza and Hewitt by saying the DLP manages its affairs democratically and the party will be stronger for it. The blogmaster begs to differ. A strong leader must be able to command the respect and support of a political party at this stage of the election cycle.
The blogmaster watched the video of the combined DLP St. Phillip branch meeting held last week at which challenger Guy Hewitt delivered a ‘çall to arms’ speech. Even more interesting, he commanded the public endorsement of former ministers Ronald Jones and John Boyce as well as former member of parliament James Paul. Whether the public supports these three from the old guard or not, one suspects there is residual support within the bowels of the DLP for them. Added to which, former member of parliament representing St. Lucy Denis Kellman continues to withhold his endorsement for De peiza who is the DLP candidate selected to run in his former constituency.
All credit to Guy Hewitt who appears willing to fall in line should he lose the election. Unfortunately it will not erase doubts expressed about De Peiza’s ability to inspire a lacklustre DLP to win against the marauding political personage of Mia Mottley. All things considered the DLP can do no worse if Hewitt is selected to contest a Christ Church riding.
If anything is to be deduced from the unprecedented shellacking of the DLP in the 2018 general election, it is Barbadians have become impatient with the game the duopoly plays perennially of winning by default. We want the kind of representation from political parties willing to hold themselves accountable to the the citizenry. Regrettably a third party is not an option.