BRIDGETOWN: The main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has launched its campaign for the February 21 general elections promising voters strong leadership to deal with the nation’s socio-economic problems over the next five years.
Last weekend, BLP leader and former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, told supporters in the parish of St. Michael that he was offering “a leadership that has been tried, leadership that has been tested and leadership that has been proven”.
The BLP, which lost the 2008 general elections to the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and is seeking to regain control of the 30-seat Parliament, said it is promising a “Campaign for a Better Tomorrow”.
Arthur told his supporters that “leadership matters” as he reminded them of the BLP’s stewardship during its 14-year-term in power.
“We managed to do a lot with a little,” said Arthur. “We didn’t have gold, we didn’t have oil, we didn’t have bauxite, but we made Barbados a great little country because we always had strong leaders. There has been no time in our country’s development where leadership matters more than now”.
Citing the implementation of the Value Added Tax in 1998 by his administration as an example, Arthur said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had failed the test of leadership.
“Things could be difficult…but they do not have to be this bad and they are this bad because our country should not be governed this way,” said Arthur. “I am asking you in this campaign to judge what kind of government we will give this country by the way we are running this campaign. Only a disciplined political institution, only a serious political institution should be vested to lead a serious country in these difficult and challenging times.”
The Stuart government was also criticized by other BLP candidates, who said it had done little for Barbadians and the local economy.
Lynette Eastmond, who is contesting the St. Philip West constituency, said the DLP had failed to address the “real issues” facing the country. Gline Clarke, who is the BLP Christ Church West candidate, expressed confidence that his party would be victorious at the polls.
“I smell victory,” said Clarke. “We can’t take the Dems no more. We have to go all out to ensure that the Democratic Labour Party is defeated at the polls.”