BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Tuesday defended its decision to boycott a sitting of Parliament accusing the ruling Democratic Party (DLP) of failing to follow tradition and announcing the date for a general election in Barbados.
“The Barbados Labour Party which won the right to vote for all Barbadians of qualifying age, has always respected and maintained the political tradition of allowing them to do so in a timely fashion. Until now, under all previous governments, voting to elect a new government had always taken place well within the five-year period for which they were elected,” said Dale Marshall, BLP Deputy Leader.
All nine opposition legislators were absent Parliament dealt with a resolution to grant BDS$15.7 million (One Barbados dollar = US$0.50 cents) from the Consolidated Fund and to finance the provision of subsidized diesel to manufacturers, farmers, fisherfolk, public service vehicle operators and the Transport Board.
A number of government legislators, including Transport Minister John Boyce, who introduced the resolution, Small Business Development Minister Denis Kellman, Labour Minister Esther Byer-Suckoo and Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, spoke on the resolution.
January 15 marks the fifth anniversary of the last general election that resulted in the BLP under then Prime Minister Owen Arthur being swept out of power.
Marshall said that the “fine and noble practice” of allowing Barbadians to vote in a timely fashion “has been callously rejected by a discredited Democratic Labour Party administration headed by Freundel Stuart” adding that the government was “clearly determined to desperately hold on to political power beyond the five-year, January 15 mandate given to it by the people back in 2008”.
He said Barbadians were also “shocked... by this blatant refusal to call the General Election for narrow and self-serving political ends”.
Marshall said that as a result of the government’s position, it has taken “the highly principled decision not to attend Parliament on Tuesday...or beyond that date”.
Marshall said that the BLP was “calling on all patriotic Barbadians” to assert “that the will of the people must always rule supreme over that of any political party”.