Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has defended his decision to allow Parliament to automatically dissolve on March 6 without announcing a date for general elections.
Addressing a meeting of his ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) on Sunday night, Stuart said the move was by no means accidental. In fact, he assured that it was “deliberately” done.
“It stands dissolved by the effluxion of time. I did not dissolve it deliberately and of course the experts have been giving expressions of their surprise. This is the first time in Barbados history that a Parliament was allowed to stand dissolved by the effluxion of time [and] that is how history is made,” he said to loud applause from party supporters.
“History is not made by things happening the same way all the time. History is made by doing things differently. It makes no sense saying this is the first time in the history of Barbados that there is a secondary school in St Thomas named the Lester Vaughan Secondary School, that is how history is made,” he emphasized.
He acknowledged that with last week’s dissolution, Government now has just under 90 days to name a date for the general election in keeping with the provisions of the Representation of the People’s Act.
“I can assure you all, that is going to happen. I am a lawyer of 34 years experience . . . and therefore I have no vested interest in not subscribing to the rule of law.
“But the fortune tellers, the Obeah men, the practitioners of political witchcraft are all having a field day trying to say when the election can be and when it cannot be and so on.
“Let me assure you, the members of the Democratic Labour Party, and people of the country we are going to have an election in Barbados in accordance with the Constitution of Barbados, within the 90 day period prescribed by the Constitution,” he said.
Just last week, political analyst Peter Wickham said Prime Minister Stuart was following “unconventional political logic” as Barbadians await the announcement of a date for general elections.
Wickham, who is also the director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), pointed out that Barbadians had never had a situation where the Parliament was dissolved and the election date was unknown.
“The Prime Minister of Barbados is following some very unconventional political logic, if indeed it is logic, that suggests he has the right to wait for the full 90 days and he does have that right constitutionally, so he has decided not to say anything [regarding an election date],” Wickham said.
“This is unprecedented. We have never had a situation in Barbados where Parliament has been dissolved without an instruction from the Prime Minister and we have never had a situation where we have gone on past the dissolution . . . where we not only have no date for the next election but we have no word from the Prime Minister one way or the other.”
The main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has been calling on Stuart to name the date for the election.
In the 2013 general election, the DLP won 16 of the 30 seats, with the remainder going to the BLP.