DLP in Drift Mode
A week after the snap general election and no surprise, Prime Minister Mottley continues to suck the air out of the local, regional and to a lesser extent the international news space. As if a second 30-0 shellacking for opposition parties wasn’t enough and a new look Cabinet, her recommendation to appoint teenager Khaleel Kothdiwala to the Upper House has blown up news streams on traditional and social media.
An observation of the Barbados landscape in recent years has been the dominant personality of Mia Mottley as leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). In contrast the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) -the other major political party- competed with late Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and of recent Verla De Peiza who both possess seemingly introverted personalities.
The blogmaster does not have to analyze numbers to understand the psyche of the Bajan voter. We prefer alpha personalities to lead the country. Stuart through happenstance was an outlier who benefited from a sympathy vote commingled with the cuhdere mentality of Barbadians that a government deserves a second term. We can only speculate if the late David Thompson would have been able to overcome the stink of CLICO to breathe fire into the party.
Of immediate concern to civic minded citizens has been the inability of a political opposition to favourably appeal to the electorate in two recent general elections -not to forget the by election in St. George North. Political parties although private entities decisions made have national significance. The resignation of Verla De Peiza with immediate effect has ensured the DLP’s voice will be less credible in the Barbados space for at minimum the next three months – a special conference is scheduled to filled the leadership role in the party. It does not help with the rebuild of DLP’s image that the interim President is Steve Blackett, a member of Stuart’s Cabinet and willing participant on the platform of that infamous Waterford Stadium political meeting.
A surface scan of DLP actors serves up slim choices to lead the party at a critical juncture. The task to rebuild the party and at the same time be a strident opposition voice is a gargantuan one. On the weekend a suggestion was made by Hartley ‘Kingmaker’ Henry the DLP should look to the diaspora for candidates to lead. On the current political trajectory unless there is a catastrophic occurrence the DLP can anticipate another defeat in five years.
On the assumption the DLP will struggle to regain relevance in the eyes of the electorate in five years, what does it portend? A splinter of the party if old heads continue to make it difficult for the DLP to reimagine itself? A credible third party made up of disaffected members from the BLP and third parties?
Interesting times ahead.
There is the national debate about the new Constitution to come. It is evident based on the results of two recent general elections, there is a lacuna to be addressed.