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.

De Peiza versus Hewitt – (D)LP for Democratic

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.

Reverend Guy Hewitt, it is official!

It is official, the Reverend Guy Hewitt was nominated by the DLP St. John branch to enable his contest for the post of President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). After the unprecedented defeat in 2018 a view emerged that the DLP must be prepared to give itself a ‘bush bath’ and to present fresh faces to the electorate in coming elections. In recent weeks the incarceration of former DLP minister Donville Inniss and utterances of former Minister Denis Lowe of CAHILL fame have caused many to wonder if the DLP has what it takes to take fresh guard.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth”. John 17: 17

To be honest Reverend Guy Hewitt has equipped himself very well since his declaration to oust Verla De Peiza from the position of president of the DLP. In a recent hard talk interview with veteran journalist David Ellis he surprised many with his performance. It is ironic the main arguments from his detractors is that he has not been observing PROCESS. Where was he in the last 3 years. When the party need help. Why did he change his mind a week after saying he was not interest. Why has he been working outside the country. Has he been paying his dues to be a card carrying member of the DLP. Why did he bail from delivering the Errol Barrow Memorial lecture etc etc etc.

To hell with process. Tell it to the Auditor General.

It is obvious to outsiders – DLP members members regard the public offering a perspective on the interesting contest developing between Reverend Guy and incumbent Verla De Peiza as outsiders – the establishment of the DLP is behind Verla De Peiza. Without doing a serious focus group analysis, it is evident to outsiders the bold challenge by Guy is good for the DLP and the country. Win lose or draw, onlookers want to see fresh political entrants who are inspired to challenge the old way of doing things. There is a view the best way for anyone seeking to create change, is to lead the change from within. Those who have been critical of the duopoly and the ensconced culture that has produced two political parties bereft of ideas in 2021- if we are to judge from the current state of the social and economic landscape in recent years- must be smiling a little,

The usual talking heads will say Reverend Guy Hewitt is a political neophyte who has not paid his dues to be deserving of serious consideration for party leadership. On the other side of the debate, others will counter by suggesting leaders emerge in times of crisis and who will deny that the DLP is in crisis at this time? They will say the timing is wrong for the DLP to be engaged in an internal battle for leadership with a maximum of two years to the general election. Those pushing back will suggest the DLP does not have a realistic chance of winning the next general election, it is a better strategy to support purge-letting events and to excoriate political cancers once and for all. To date the DLP has not released a full slate of candidates to suggest to onlookers it is battle ready for 2023. It has been taking too long for the only credible opposition party to show how agile is has been since 2018 to resurrect the party. The sloth management style of former leader Fruendel Stuart appears to be that of Verla De Peiza.

For the ‘outsiders’ we want the best man or woman to win because Barbadians everywhere are vested in the outcome. We are not outsiders. The DLP is the government in waiting, especially with no credible third party to offer serious contest. Is the Reverend Guy Hewitt the man to fuse life into the DLP, a political party that has been unable to offer fresh ideas and programs to the electorate post 2018?

Time will tell!

Is Guy Hewitt the Way, Truth and Light for the DLP?

In the lead in to the 2018 general election there was a buzz about Guy Hewitt perceived in some quarters to be man with political aspirations to lead the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) after the period dubbed The Lost Decade. He has always had a voice in the Barbados non secular space- received by the general public as erudite and articulate with his social and political commentaries not unlike the Dean Harold Crichlow. It did not hurt the recognition gained from the leadership role he played in the infamous Windrush matter.

One should never say never – in this instance Reverend Hewitt being a future leader of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). Of recent his articles are a must read for those following current affairs in similar vein to a Senator Caswell Franklyn. A high compliment for sure.

The Windrush debacle created the opportunity for Hewitt to add priceless elements to his brand and of late the Donville Inniss matter created a dicey window of opportunity for him to express loyalty for a friend, an endearing and respected human quality. Although Inniss was charged and convicted of money laundering in the USA- the first local high ranking former politician to achieve such ignominy- he continues to enjoy some support among Barbadians. In a macabre way Hewitt the priest may be seen as supporting a son of the soil who has stumbled, the words of country and western singer the late Glen Campbell:

If you see your brother standing by the road

With a heavy load from the seeds he sowed

…just stop and say, you are going the wrong way

You have got to try a little kindness …

If President Verla De Peiza could borrow from Hewitt’s resume and modus operandi what a formidable opponent she would be perceived to be. To have the ability to inhale some of the oxygen from the political space being sucked in by her counterpart Mia Mottley is required now more than ever with the failure of the third party political movement to gain political traction in the aftermath of an unprecedented 30 to 0 shellacking in the 2018 general election.

Guy Hewitt has the opportunity to play a significant role in the rebuild of the DLP. It is difficult to see him being accepted by the DLP establishment party apparatus for the highest office in the party. Unlike a few of the opportunists who have jumped ship or become disinterested in DLP politics, Hewitt continues to fight the good fight. For believers miracles have been known to happen and Reverend Hewitt may have heard a repeat of the message whispered in his ears from the one above “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with few things. I will put you in charge of many things”.

It may be wise for President De Peiza to find a way to hitch her wagon to Guy Hewitt’s rising star. He is one of those rare personalities who has crossover appeal in the land. She must find a way to overcome the negative perception caused by the delayed endorsement of her decision to run in St. Lucy by Denis Kellman. She will never be seen as a threat if unable to win a seat in parliament.

How can and will Reverend Guy assist a sister carrying a heavy load?

Looks Like the DLP Playing the Long Game

The blogmaster read Nation newspaper Barry Alleyne’s report De Peiza sticking with the process and was finally convinced the raison d’être the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) continues to go about a methodical candidate selection process. The system of governance and politics practised in Barbados makes it the business if ALL Barbadians to want a strong political Opposition. Say what we will about the need for a third party movement the DLP is the only current credible option in our political orbit.

The article reminded Barbadians that the DLP is sticking with a vetting process that sees ALL members of the party being “eligible to apply and all are subject to the same vetting process – no exceptions, not even for me” [Verla]. To date the DLP has announced only three candidates to run in the upcoming general election constitutionally due in 2023 – Verla De Peiza, Andre Worrell and Ryan Walters. Political pundits agree the DLP will not win the next general election and the leadership of that party is correctly playing a long game, that is; taking the necessary steps, now, to set yourself up for long-term success.

Former Prime Minister Harold Wilson of the UK is quoted that a week is a long time in politics. There are two years to go until 2023 if Prime Minister Mottley goes the full distance. President Verla De Peiza and the DLP has a rapidly closing window to line up the political ducks and allow sufficient time for those candidates with a legitimate chance of winning to deploy effective ground strategies. The raging pandemic will not help.

It should be obvious the biggest campaign issue in the next election will be the economy and jobs. By the time the bell is rung public transportation, garbage collection and water challenges in the North will be non issues. Coincidentally Chairman of the SSA reported yesterday the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) and the waste management arm of Barbadian company Innotech Services Limited will be implementing a ten-month project to change how garbage is collected and processed in Barbados.

For too long the blogmaster has been commenting about the lack of a credible DLP spokesperson on financial matters. The best research indicates President of the DLP Verla De Peiza is the ‘shadow minister’ of finance. This is a key area the DLP as it prepares for the next election will have to address. There is a reason the label Lost Decade has stuck to the DLP. It is widely accepted by the public the last DLP administration badly mismanaged the economy and for this reason former Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler seems to be reluctant to show his face in public with any frequency.

This brings us to the other point to note in the Barry Alleyne article. David Estwick, Stephen Lashley and Dennis Lowe appear to be more than mildly interested in returning to the political fray. The blogmaster has commented many times were those candidates to be selected it will be a mistake. It would open the floodgates for the BLP to rehash 2018 talking points.

DLP Ready or Not …

On November 11, 2020, Moore received 3154 votes in the by-election. Floyd Reifer of the Democratic Labour Party was the nearest challenger with 1 327.Grenville Phillips of Solutions Barbados earned 95, David Walrond of the opposition People’s Party for Democracy and Development got 80, Ambrose Grosvenor of the United Progressive Party 70 and the Bajan Free Party’s Alex Mitchell received ten.” – Nation Newspaper 12/11/2020

The result of the St. George North by election year exposes reasons to pause for those who worry about the current state of governance in Barbados. Historically we have managed the affairs of state well enough to have earned the label ‘a stable political country’. However, the result of the 2018 general election created an unprecedented situation where for the first time the OPPOSITION in the House of Assembly was not comprised of members of a party who faced the electorate under a different party banner. Instead, Bishop Joseph Atherley saved the day by crossing the floor to be anointed the Leader of the Opposition by the Governor General.

The decision by Atherley to cross the floor averted a constitutional crisis many continue to argue (including this blogmaster) and the rest is history to cite an often used cliché. Despite his best effort to be the dissenting voice inside and outside of parliament Atherley his People’s Party for Democracy has been unable to win measurable support from Barbadians. The result of the St. George North by election validates the position. The other conclusion political pundits are certain is that the third party movement in its current form has been rejected by the electorate.

A general election is constitutionally due in 2023 and surprise surprise the main political parties to contest will be the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and Democratic Labour Party (DLP). In other words the DLP represents the government in waiting. It means therefore the general public is vested in a fit for purpose political opposition whether it is occupying parliamant or on the outside. An irony often discussed when this matter surfaces is to highlight a political party is a private member organization, yet it must be ready to take over the job of managing the weighty affairs of state.

Whether we like it or not the DLP represents the only practical legitimate political opposition voice in the mind of the public- although it failed to win a single seat in the last general election. To compare with other countries the DLP is the entrenched other member of the duopoly like the Democrats and Republicans, Labour and Tories or JLP and PNP to name three.

The inability of the DLP so far to list a full slate of candidates to contest the 2023 general election is a concern.

The inability of party leader to elevate her national profile in an environment screeching for a political alternative is a concern.

The inability of the DLP to speak authoritatively on economic policy is a concern.

These are not exhaustive concerns and the one not mentioned and possibly the biggest is the potential collateral damage from Donville Inniss’ verdict due to be handed down next week in New York.

DLP Hopes to Win by Default

In the last thirty six hours the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) had reason to retract a declaration of some candidates to contest the next general election. With the election constitutionally due by 2023 political pundits have suggested the DLP should have completed the task by now. We understand President Verla De Peiza’s explanation that the selection of candidates is involved and requires time to ensure a task is well done. That said, a learning entity will transform as required to ensure adaptability in the space in which it has to successfully operate. The sloth and deliberate way the DLP continues to operate mirrors former prime minister Fruendel Stuart as leader and continues to haunt the DLP.

The importance of a strident dissenting voice in the type of democracy practiced by Barbados has been robustly discussed on BU’s pages. Whether some like it or not the DLP despite the shellacking in the 2018 general election is still perceived as the legitimate political opposition. Although Senator Caswell Franklyn has done his darnest to fill the role, the political party he represents does not have the legitimacy to be perceived as a legit political contender. in fact savvy political pundits accept that the creation of the People’s Development Party was contrived to avoid a constitutional crisis. History is expectant with revelations.

The challenge for the DLP will be making an impact during a pandemic where candidates making themselves known through traditional methods have to be curtailed. Accept that the effect of COVID 19 will be with us best case for the balance of the year. More importantly is the opportunity for new candidates to get comfortable in the role. It is not good enough Barbadians continue to elect governments by ‘default’. We need our governments in waiting to be forced to advocate alternative and relevant programs designed to catapult the country’s economic and social development.

The list of candidates hurriedly withdrawn by the DLP revealed an unhealthy sighting of old candidates. Some of the old names triggered a flood of bad memories in the mind of the blogmaster who understands it is more about winning for political parties, not trying to satisfy political utopianists.

It boggles the mind that a government after being given an overwhelming mandate in 2018 whose first task was to administer a ‘’haircut’ to domestic and foreign bond holders – followed by a few missteps managing the pandemic has not created the opportunity for opposition politics to thrive. Instead we have witnessed one of the most lackluster performances by the political opposition as far as the blogmaster is concerned since 2018. The BLP and specifically Prime Minister Mottley continues to suck the energy from the Barbados political landscape. So much so that if a general election were to be called tomorrow a solid prediction would be another BLP victory albeit with a reduced majority.

It is important Barbadians elevate our level of awareness about civics matters to appreciate the importance of pressuring political parties to transform. Delivering public service must be accepted as serious business, a sacred honour. So far the DLP as the only game in town has done nothing post 2018 to justify the label of government in waiting.

The following is an extract from what is being circulated:

The nominated are as follows:

St. Lucy        Verla De Peiza
St. Andrew   Oldwin Skeete
St. Joseph     Randall Rouse
St. John         Andre Worrell
St. Thomas   Khadija Collymore
SJN                 Charles Worrell
SPN                Michael Lashley
SPW               Dr David Estwick
SPS                 Neil Marshall
CCE                Dr Denis Lowe
SMNW           Ryan Walters
SMWC           Curtis Cave
SMN              B. Ricardo Harrison


Reform or Die

Submitted by Ziggy Greene


Voter annihilation
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was wiped out in the 2018 general elections in Barbados. It lost all 30 seats that constitute the House of Assembly. So devastating was the defeat that the DLP won only one or two of individual constituency voting boxes. Previous strongholds of St John and St Lucy were swept away like coastal lands in a tsunami. Many pundits, political and otherwise, have prophesied, more in hope than serious thought, that the DLP is now dead and defunct. It is deceased they declare; it cannot rise again. Good riddance to bad rubbish was how one Barbados Labour Party supporter, a friend, framed it.

And so it seems after the election if one drove along George Street, Belleville, the headquarters of the DLP affected a forlorn and shabby appearance, a reflection of the state of the party. For weeks nothing was heard from former Cabinet Members. Not even from the former PM Freundel Stuart; he remained as silent after the loss as he had been during his leadership.

The show must go on
Nevertheless after sometime, an election for party leadership was held. It pitted Guy Hewitt, former UK High Commissioner from 2014-2018 against Verla De Peiza, a previous unsuccessful candidate for the party. Hewitt represented a break from the past and De Peiza a continuation thereof albeit one who was never in government. Without going into the reasons why, De Peiza won.

Can DePeiza make the DLP viable again?
That is question on the lips of party faithful and Barbadians who want to see a robust opposition. After two years in the leadership role it is difficult to tell if the question has been answered. What comes out of George Street is an amalgam of worn out political utterances and defensive statements that give no clue to the personal political underpinnings of Miss De Peiza or what a DLP Administration under her leadership would portend. There is no inkling on where she stands on the pressing issues that plagued Barbados, whether it is crime, social or economic concerns.

Every party suffers defeat
At some point a party will lose an election. At some point the political philosophies of a party will clash with the wishes of voters. Between 1932 and 1952 during and after the great depression, and the Second World War Americans favoured the Democratic Party for its social policies. Between 1980 and 1992 the Democratic Party was in opposition to the Republicans in presidential elections when Americans opted for the conservative policies of Ronald Reagan. At home, the DLP won 24-3 over the BLP in 1986. In 1999 the BLP defeated the DLP 26- 2 and in 2018 30-0.

It ought to be pointed that the Democratic Party in the US began life as a conservative party and the Republicans as more liberal per the America definitions of those terms. They flipped ideologies around the 1970s although it can be argued that the change started around 1932 when FDR instituted social and welfare reforms to combat the great depression. In Barbados, there is no defined political ideological demarcation between the DLP and the BLP. Demonstrably, political parties form and reform or reinvent themselves according to the philosophies of their leaders and members, and the voting tendencies of the public.

The DLP Party must reform
Without doubt it must. But how is that to be achieved? My advice would be to first apologise to the citizens of Barbados and to DLP members if there is a distinction or if such a specific apology is warranted. Sorry for not living up to expectations of those who voted for the DLP, Sorry for besmirching the values and name of Errol Walton Barrow and those who started the Party and carried its banner for many a year, Sorry for the failures of the past 8 or so years. Pledge that it would never be repeated. That would represent a break from the past and signal a new dispensation. One rightfully may argue that it may anger some members not least the old guard from the previous administration and that may be true. I say so what? But an apology is not the end all.

Political reform – a review
Jose Moroni in a 2009 paper about Brazilian politics considered the question of political reform and advanced seven basic but fundamental challenges, that any serious attempt at political reform must overcome.

There are to quote Maroni:-

  • Male dominance: Any system of political, economic, industrial, financial, religious or social organization in which the vast majority of the senior positions in the hierarchy are held by men.
  • Patrimonialism: Political conduct on the part of dominant elites in the exercise of public government functions whereby public resources (of the State and/or its institutions) are appropriated as if they belonged to these elites.
  • Oligarchy: A form of government in which power is concentrated in the hands of a small number of individuals who are in many cases united by family ties or political connections, and who belong to privileged social classes. Typically, oligarchies tend to be dominated by men and to function in a patrimonialist way.
  • Nepotism: The practice of individuals in positions of executive power in the State apparatus granting favours by awarding jobs to their relatives.
  • Cronyism: The exchange of favours and mutual preferential treatment by individuals in executive positions in State structures and public services.
  • Personality cults: Creating cult status for individuals in the political sphere, which leads to the devaluation of political debate and the de-politicizing of conflicts.
  • Corruption: When individuals appropriate or re-allocate public resources for private ends and are able to act with impunity and maintain themselves in power. Another aspect of corruption is that it is a way of usurping the power that rightly belongs to the people.

For ease of reference, Moroni succinctly explains those challenges. To varying degrees and deferring terms, these are comparable issues that plagued Barbados.. Nevertheless this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are other issues like encouraging a more broad-based economy, debt and debt financing, the welfare state, civil service reform, crime, targeted free university education, technical and vocational schools or studies, same sex marriage, school zoning, legal reform, and single sex schools. Coterminously, there is the matter of in- house DLP recalibration surrounding attracting new members, candidate selection restructuring, and maintenance of party headquarters.

Back to Moroni
Addressing the political scene in Brazil, Moroni offers up more incisive guidance for reform, which on examination has exogenous appeal. He advises reformers to-

  1. Strengthen direct democracy;
  2. Strengthen participative democracy;
  3. Improve representative democracy (the electoral system and political parties);
  4. Democratize information and communications;
  5. Democratize the judicial system

How germane, given what has been trending in Barbados. The President of the Senate recently resigned and has been replaced by a party insider, with no reason given for the particular appointment. The Chief Justice has retired and advertisement for a replacement has been broadcasted. Despite that, critics are confident that a party affiliate is a surety for the post.

And with the recent Throne Speech and the intent of the Government to implement measures towards same sex civil unions and republicanism, there has been some furore over whether Government should proceed unilaterally in the case of becoming a Republic or by way of referendum, as it has for same sex marriage notwithstanding the civil union stop gap.

Such political angst is ubiquitous in democratic forms of government but there are lesson to be learnt here for the DLP. Changes are not easy. They are disruptive and divisive, but they are inevitable.

My Advice to DePeiza
Scrutinize these political reforms posited by Maroni. Juxtapose them against the political landscape of Barbados and your ideals for the DLP. In detail, pen how you would realign the political principles of the DLP taking into account this framework. Promulgate it to the public along with any other reforms that you deem necessary under the circumstances.

Above all, mean it, and demonstrate that you do. We must know where you stand. We must know where you intend to take us and above all we must believe you. You may not win the next election and you may not win any election but you would have propelled the DLP into the future and perhaps ensure its existence.

Verla or George, Verla or George…Verla it Must be

Some of us are looking to the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) later this month with more than a little interest. It is after all the other half of the duopoly that has ‘ruled’ Barbados without serious challenge for the last 60+ years. Since its decimation at the polls in 2018 the electorate has observed President Verla De Peiza struggling to keep pace with her counterpart. All agree De Peiza was dealt a bad hand, however, she accepted the job and it is what it is. The AGM will give Barbadians the opportunity to acquire a more informed position.

The DLP brand despite the unprecedented defeat in 2018 is ‘seared’ into the political psyche of Barbadians. This has made it difficult for a third political party to create a foothold to offer serious challenge to the duopoly. In the short term the electorate will have to make do with the main combatants being DLP versus BLP contest in 2023 when the next general election is constitutionally due.

To the surprise of many including the blogmaster there has been the appearance of the ‘old guard’ offering themselves as candidates for posts. Of interest is the contest between George Pilgrim who will challenge Verla De Peiza for the presidency of the party. Pilgrim was the long standing general secretary of the DLP during an unflattering time. As hard as the blogmaster tried to apply logic to Pilgrim’s decision to challenge De Peiza, there is no logic except to state the obvious- it is his democratic right to run if he satisfied the nomination criteria of the party.

The blogmaster anticipates De Peiza will overcome Pilgrim’s challenge, she must because he is a weaker candidate. Pilgrim represents everything the electorate rejected in the DLP two years ago. There is no credible alternative on show with the 2023 general election appearing in the political rear view mirror. You may recall the result of the vote in the DLP stronghold of St. John between Charles Griffith and George Pilgrim. The final result Griffith 2,963 to Pilgrim 1598. Should the performance in a general election influence internal nominations and elections? Political parties are in the business of harvesting popularity. The DLP needs a president guaranteed to inspire members of the party and to be the architect of a good strategic and tactical plan. Members of the DLP have hobson’s choice, what gives De Peiza the edge is that the DLP headquarters located at George Street was literally allowed to rot under Pilgrim’s watch.

A political party is defined as an organised group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions, that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.

The Electoral Knowledge Network

Given the design of our political setup the DLP is a private entity and is permitted to manage its affairs as outlined in its constitution. Decisions taken at party conference however have implications for the country especially in an entrenched duopoly. We have an inkling what is De Peiza’s plan – see link. There is no recent update on Pilgrim’s Facebook page to indicate he is politically active.

In both parties over the years we have seen a tendency to recycle the same old, same old. Rising apathy should be a barometer for political parties that the public is expecting more or expect to be punished with laughter at the polls. Unfortunately a vibrant democracy requires more from citizens than placing an X every five years.

Two Poorakey FORMER Prime Ministers


Verla De Peiza, Leader of the DLP


@David,what rot are you talking? the DLP will be out of govt for at least 10 years. do we really think any person from the last bunch will be around politically at that time? your admonishment is a nonsense under those circumstances. Barrow and others were rejected too. politics is a strange game and the rejected can become the chosen in a wink of an eye politically

The comment quoted was posted by Greene in response to criticism of Verla De Peiza’s leadership of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). It reveals the electorate’s biggest problem.

There has been a lot of chatter about the decision by former prime minister Freundel Stuart to speak after two years of silence. One of the characteristics of Stuart’s tenure was his unwillingness – some suggest reluctance – to engage the public on the many issues of the day. This detachment from an electorate he was elected to serve permeated his team. The ethos which shrouded his tenure provoked his reference to a sleeping giant who others should be fearful about awakening.

This blogmaster has no intention to be prolix on this matter, the BU family has sliced and diced Stuart matters to bits over the years. Those who prefer to drag a political carcass across the trail to stink up dispassionate analysis, it will not work.

For some time progressive BU pundits have opined that the Bajan electorate has ceded its civic responsibility to the political class.  Key tenets upon which our so called democracy is built require a strident advocacy by the PEOPLE to act as a whip to the political class. What we have is a situation – referred to as the duopoly –  where the Opposition party pays its penance for two terms and is re-elected as the de facto government in waiting.  Some of us have exposed the fault line in our governance system, however, the majority of people have become intoxicated by the games politicians play and do not know B from bull’s foot as it relates to civic engagement.

The last two prime ministers Freundel Stuart and Owen Arthur represent about 25 years in office between them. Is it too much for the electorate to expect them to add value to the governance landscape – post prime ministership – with the objective of making our democratic systems better? For this reason elders in ancient societies have been allocated pride of place and  were pivotal transferring knowledge to mould societies for the better. Instead what we have had is Arthur demonstrating a level of bitterness not worthy of mention AND one Stuart outburst labelled by political pundits as froth over substance.

Some of us have had enough!

it is in this context the blogmaster states categorically there is no merit to Stuart given airtime under the banner of the DLP, if it wants to be taken seriously as being in the vanguard of change. Stuart is free to mirror De Lisle Worrell by posting his thoughts on a website or vblogging on YouTube. The political class has no problem disrespecting the electorate by demonstrating arrogance in office, breaking promises (manifestos), however, the electorate – according to some – must extend all courtesies to Stuart by being receptive to his mouthings on his descension from Mount Olympus. This blogmaster says no!

Two years on it is evident no credible third party movement has emerged. Although disappointing, it is a reflection of the scant regard quality citizens hold for aspiring to be members of the political class. We are what we eat, our governments are composed of poorakey members.

A reinvigorated and reborn DLP is important to a well functioning governance setup in Barbados. One does not have to be blessed with the acuity of the best political pundit to know Verla De Peiza lacks the gravitas in personality to lead the emergence of the DLP.  To have allowed Denis Lowe, Ronald Jones, Adreil Brathwaite et al to hijack her agenda- if there is one -is the biggest indication she does not have control of the party.

Three more years to go Verla, or less!

Peter and Verla in Focus

The Donville Inniss trial in the USA suffocated the local newsfeed in recent days and prevented the blogmaster – absent the noise – from sharing thoughts about other matters. Now that we have touchdown in the Inniss matter with the predictable verdict being returned, it is time.

Two images were posted in the Nation newspaper on the 12th and 18th of January 2020 which captured the attention of this blogmaster.

One image emblazoned on the Sunday’s front page of the 12 January 2020 showed the beaming countenance of Peter Wickham and Giancarlo with the caption – “Regional political consultant was formally married to his partner of the past ten years, Giancarlo Cardinale yesterday at the Hotel de Ville in Strasbourg, France …

Some will accuse the blogmaster of being homophobic after posting this blog. You are free to do so. Individuals are free to live lifes as they chose, once done within the boundary of the law. We live in a world where same sex unions are being given the ‘weight’ traditional marriages.  The beef this blogmaster has with the Nation Media House is the decision to insert the picture on the front page AND referring to the union as a marriage.

Barbadians are a people wedded to the traditional view that a marriage is ” established between two people of the opposite sex.” The Nation newspaper as the leading media outlet in the country has a duty to responsibly share information that accurately influence given the power of media to influence (manipulate) public opinion. After all we have the vulnerable in society to shepherd. Posting Wickhams so called marriage on the front page  brings into serious question the quality of decision-making at the Editor’s desk at Nation Publishing.

Peter Wickham Marriage

The second picture does not require an exercise in the prolix and can be explained in a few words – one must thrive to make the best decisions at all times Verla et al.

Verla De Peiza

Discuss for 10 marks.

Freundel Stuart to SPEAK!


 Verla De peiza, Leader of the DLP

Former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is being promoted as the guest speaker at the St. James South branch meeting scheduled for May 19, 2019. The first reaction from the blogmaster to the news is that after one year the giant appears to have been coaxed from his slumber by the Goddess of Isis.

The topic of his speech has not been shared with the public – this is consistent with Stuart’s style of communicating with those he was elected to serve. Why would he change now? The fact he presided over a political party discombobulated at the polls will never be a consideration for him.

An interesting debate has emerged as to why the DLP would invite Stuart to address a branch meeting. And why would Donville’s constituency have extended the invitation at this time.

June 24, 2019 is the date set by the United States Federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto to hear the case filed by United States prosecutors against former International Business and Commerce Minister Donville Inniss.

Is there a story line to be read from the tea leaves? Many prefer the DLP to die and for something new to rise from its ashes. It supports the view that like the mortals we are, entities also have a shelf life.

The blogmaster has shared the view that Verla De Peiza has no significant power base within the party. She has a weak ‘brand’. Her position is undermined with the appointment of Irene Sandiford-Garner, regarded as a political light weight. De Peiza has been selected post the 30-0 defeat of the party as a stop gap leader because it is a role any sensible political aspirant will spurn at this time. This may explain why she lacks the political courage to overrule the invitation by the St. James South branch for Stuart to speak.

  1. Will the Clyde Mascoll/David Thompson story line be repeated.
  2. Will Stuart’s delivery be a mea culpa?
  3. Will Stuart continue with his Mount Olympus philosophical musings?
  4. Well Stuart- for once- embrace the role of a statesman and share relevant insights to a political party with the scent of the political dustbin it is nostrils?

Time will tell.
Screenshot 2019-04-23 at 18.05.31