An apparent clash of opinions among two Democratic Labour Party stalwarts on what led to the party’s catastrophic election defeat a year ago has drawn criticism by the victorious Barbados Labour Party.
Now, Labour Party general secretary Senator Jerome Walcott is seeking to draw DLP President Verla De Peiza into her party’s internal chatter.
De Peiza is being asked to ‘clear the air’ on the conflicting comments from the man who ran the 2018 election campaign and a former cabinet minister, one of the 30 candidates who failed to gain a seat.
Two weeks ago, in delivering the DLP’s lunchtime lecture, former Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley acknowledged that the then Freundel Stuart administration had been arrogant during its ten years in power and expressed regret for the manner in which the DLP ran its campaign, describing it as negative.
He also called for the party’s new executive to create and publicise a code of conduct for future campaigns.
But, the very next week, at the same lecture, former campaign manager Robert “Bobby” Morris rubbished Lashley’s statements, saying that was not the view held by the party.
He maintained that the DLP had nothing to apologize for.
Morris said: “I don’t think we have to apologise to anybody because I am not buying the other people’s narrative. There is one narrative that I have, which is that the economy was so bad that holding it together was a miracle, but the cost would have been heavy and therefore we got beaten.
“Lashley has a position in relation to this party and I don’t think he was speaking for the party. Quite frankly, I think those were his personal views. I don’t know if he had any mandate from the party before he spoke. I know I spoke to the officials and told them what I had to say because I don’t want to disrespect my officials.”
In a press release issued Tuesday, the BLP’s Senator Walcott called for De Peiza to let her position on the matter be known.
Senator Walcott said: “By dismissing Stephen Lashley like a schoolboy, Morris made two things clear – his perspective is the official DLP position, and the fact that there is an ongoing struggle between that party’s old guard and younger membership. Where Ms DePeiza stands in this confrontation would be interesting to know.
“Why Morris’ statement matters is because he represents the DLP’s spiritual soul to which that party’s old guard adheres. It is that doctrine that guides Freundel Stuart and those who foisted him on Barbados. These are the same people who maneuvered Verla DePeiza into the president’s chair to be the party’s face until they are ready to take control again.”
The BLP also accused the DLP of deliberately not trying to fix the country’s economy because they knew they would lose the general elections.
The statement continued: “They knew the drastic measures needed to be taken and the public would not take kindly to more pain, after enduring a decade of decline and desperation. They knew that any glimmer of hope they would have in the elections would have been lost as a result. This is why the DLP only talked about fixing the economy while making no serious efforts to fix it.
“This is shameful, the well-being of the country and the people of Barbados should never have been sacrificed on the altar of party paramountcy as practiced by the DLP.”