Barbados Labour Party’s Annual General Conference: The Strange Case of Freundel Jekyll & Owen Hyde – The Reversal of Accustomed Barbadian Political Roles

These days are funny nights indeed,” – Clement Payne

Do you know for a good while after the 1937 riots if you were caught muttering that oxymoron you could land up in jail? The man who said it too, was part of the Inspiration to the Right Excellent Sir Grantley Adams behind the forming of the Barbados Labour Party. Between both of them, I suspect Clement may not be so surprised at the current turmoil while Sir Grantley’s blood may either boil or curdle at current developments.

Some of the crowd at The Plantation over the weekend, will there be a similar turnout for Owen's speech at Deighton Griffith secondary at 11:00 am?

New Opposition Leader Owen S. Arthur keeps telling his countrymen there must be healing in his Party, and so far he’s done little to create regeneration, if anything he’s continuing amputations on a patient that’s a haemophiliac while the Blood Bank is seeking donations. Bit of a sad analogy when one considers the Party’s colour. The way things are going, there may be a new colour by the time 2011 rolls in.

Ms Mottley with one of her trusted supporters, Rawle Eastmond - she consulted with him before entering the Plantation on Friday night

From October 18 to present, a number of developments within the BLP have come to light which is far from normal – as this political engine usually keeps its civil wars under lock & key… You’ll recall there was a coup deposing Mia Mottley as Opposition Leader which many considered cowardly and almost treasonous, don’t take my word for it, here are some comments from people on the Street {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Parliament's West Wing while still under Mia's guidance

Then there was the situation where two New senators were appointed replacing Mia Mottley’s choices, and the previous occupiers of the Upper Chamber for the Opposition only learned of the change when turning on their radios or reading my website!

Dwayne Husbands entertaining BLP stalwarts over the weekend with a very attentive Mr Arthur in the foreground.

Decided to track the BLP’s Annual General Conference’s Opening Ceremony & Awards at the Plantation Garden Theatre… What healing is there? Owen on one side of the complex and Mia on the other, reminiscent of the days of Kennedy versus Kruschev – another thing which seems confusing is the BLP’s theme, “Charting a NEW Direction,” which after October 18 seems totally ridiculous, where on Barbados’ political compass is that bearing? Since Mr Arthur has returned and is in a capacity with which he’s no stranger (Opposition Leader in 1994), then this is not old wine in new skin nor new wine in an old skin, but tips of booze from other flasks who saw better days and now totted into an old mini bottle for use when nothing else is available.

Craftsman & Calypsonian Elonza "Serenader" Brewster earned a very well-deserved Lifetime Achievement for his skill in carving tunes and maintaining a balanced Party stance during Barbados' premier party season

Owen says an olive branch is extended but where? How? What terms? Nothing the average Barbadian is aware of… If he has bravery and genuine remorse at the ugly turn of events then he should offer Deputy Opposition Leader to Ms Mottley, who decided after the apparent discrepancy of delegates, to not run for the post of Party Chairman.

From chatting to some of their members, I learned there are approximately 7,000 people who joined yet the AGC had 900 representatives which implies the BLP has 9,000 members? Who joined so fast if these figures bear any accuracy? Is there no criteria on how long one is a member before voting at an AGC? When Arthur speaks at Deighton Griffith Secondary today he needs to put these matters to rest before they even consider the St John by-election…

Some wags even say why bother to hold a by-election, since even if a flea – once DLP – is put in the Eastern constituency, the win is forgone… Speaking of the DEMS?

Many Bajans wait to see how Freundel Stuart's approach to governance will differ from Thompson's dry yet flamboyant method of holding Office.

This is in stark contrast to the almost hegemonic cooperation within the current incarnation of Errol Barrow’s splinter faction from the BLP. When the late DJH Thompson passed away, there was no long drawn out histrionics – Freundel Stuart was selected as PM (even if it’s alleged some voted for themselves, an allegation still unanswered by those accused to this very moment) and yet he has not altered Thompson’s last reshuffle of the Cabinet.

In 2006, when Clyde Mascoll and a much healthier Thompson were at war, the public wrangling was as brutal as any dispute now on in the BLP. One can only wonder if Mascoll is kicking himself for having left the DLP and being the only Opposition Leader to defect to a Ruling Party?

Tomas licked up Tim (Popular nightspot "Tim's On De Hiway" was devastated by the late October weather) - reconstruction and sympathy for DJH Thompson are the two main underpinnings where the DLP could successfully appeal for a General Election and actually earn a 2nd yet unexpected chance at the polls

The DLP is very much seeking to have business as usual, any wrangling for position in either St John or General Elections is so off the map, as to be thought of as a Bajan Area 51! Freundel Stuart’s first official act was to give an all-clear for Barbados after the passage of Hurricane Tomas at the end of October.

When one scrutinises Stuart’s actions, he’s been laying his mark way before Thompson’s departure, like the unexpected use of Crop Over Tunes as humour when he quoted Li’l Rick at the DEM’s AGC back in June {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

The Foundation Old Scholar compares what being part of the Bees as opposed to the Dems with Lil Rick’s popular Crop Over Hit “Gal, Who Taught You To Wine Like Dat?

One very crucial factor in Mia's favour is that she has a very magnanimous and congenial personality (See how she's giving a beautiful grin at Plantation even while present in less than scintillating circumstances) compared to OS Arthur, many occasions local comedians can spoof her while she's present and she laughs, few dare try in other circumstances, this open attitude will prove her victory and others' undoing in the long run

It seems the catalyst in both cases for the unusual approaches on both sides was the late DJH Thompson’s illness & subsequent death, for such a potent substance as to alter the regular nature of what normally pertains in Barbadian politics means the late Combermerian was probably close to the significance of his send off at Kensington Oval. Since not even Tom Adams nor Errol Barrow had anything so lavish and those two were of opposite political ends as well… This case is very worthy of Robert Louis Stevenson!

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  1. I have been following this blog for sometime now & glad to see you finally confirmed what I suspected – you are an idiot. Owen is Barbados’ salvation – get over it.



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