BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The two main political parties here have nominated candidates to contest the 30 seats in the February 21 general elections ahead of the official Nomination day on February 6.
In the unprecedented move, not witnessed before in Caribbean politics, the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) led by former prime minister Owen Arthur marched to the Treasury Building on Thursday to pay the required US$125 per candidate.
“This is a party that knows how to plan and to take charge of its affairs. And today, you have seen for the first time in the history of Barbados, a group of candidates constituting themselves as team which can become the next government of Barbados coming together in unison.
“Throughout the campaign we will show how to government the country. We are focused, disciplined, well organized and well prepared,” he said, adding “this country needs a disciplined, focused, united political institution at this very difficult time in the country’s development”.
Not to be outdone, the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart Friday paid the deposit but did not file nomination papers.
DLP spokesman, Ronald Jones told reporters the party would not engaged in any grand public display, an apparent reference to the opposition party.
“ We do what we know we have to do, We do what is right. We are into people, people matter, not power,” he added.
Arthur told supporters, who had marched with the BLP candidates to register for the poll that the BLP would make no unrealistic promises on the campaign trail.
“We will not promise duty-free cars, interest-free mortgages, free housing or a lot of baloney. This country is facing its greatest ever calamity. We are bringing realism and hope. We have chosen a campaign slogan that is empathetic and we want to give this country not an ideal future, but a better future.”
The BLP will launch its campaign on Saturday and Arthur said that the party’s manifesto has been completed.
“Our manifesto has been prepared after the fullest possible consultation with the widest cross-section of people. I have never worked harder on a manifesto in my time and in due course it will presented to the people as symbol of realism and of hope”.
“We have seen a deterioration in the quality of our life and Barbados has retrogressed socially, we want to change that,” he said.
In the 2008 election, the DLP, which had been in opposition since 1994, won 20 of the 30 seats, defeating the BLP under Arthur’s leadership.
The DLP, won 53.21 per cent of the popular votes, while the BLP received 46.52 per cent.