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Barbados Government minister distances himself from attempts to remove Prime Minister

“I have no intentions of committing political suicide,” Minister of Commerce Denis Kellman told the Daily Nation newspaper, adding that he was a supporter of Stuart, who came to office following the death of then Prime Minister David Thompson in October last year.

He said the majority of Barbadians do not regard Stuart in a negative light.

Kellman was commenting on reports that 11 Democratic Labour Party (DLP) parliamentarians are seeking to force Prime Minister Stuart, who is due to leave the island on Monday, to meet with them urgently and discuss the country’s and the party’s future leadership.

“Against the backdrop of growing concern among supporters of the Government and our party, with respect to perceived weaknesses in our leadership of the country, and a sense of drift and inertia arising therefrom, we the undersigned elected members of the Parliamentary Group seek an urgent audience with you to discuss matters of grave concern to us, as well as to chart a path forward for the retention of our party in Government,” the group said in their letter.

The letter was dispatched to Stuart after Cabinet ministers and backbenchers became worried that he could lead the party to defeat if he remained Prime Minister.

Kellman denied any advance knowledge of the letter but said he would be willing to sit down with the Prime Minister and other party officials to discuss the controversy, should Stuart convene such a meeting, in the interest of the DLP.

“I have always said to people that I do not support personalities; I support party and philosophy,” he said, adding “I see nothing wrong at the present moment with the Prime Minister. I have said since 2001 that I am a party person. I have no intentions of committing political suicide.

“I am not party to the letter; I have not seen it and they [authors and signatories] would know better than to bring such a letter to me.

“I would attend any meeting that is called by the person responsible for calling Parliamentary Group meetings and any meeting that is called by the party,” Kellman told the newspaper.

He said the public of Barbados is supportive of the 60-year-old Stuart.

“…people are not saying they don’t want him. Once they are asking for him, it shows that they see him in a particular light and it cannot be a negative light, because if it were in a negative light they would be saying they don’t want to see him or hear him.

“What people are really saying to the Prime Minister is that after hearing all of the ministers ‘we still want to hear you’. That is clear,” he added.

Minister of Transport and Works, John Boyce, who was selected to liaise between the Stuart and the disgruntled members, had no comment on the matter, the Daily Nation newspaper added.

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