BARBADOS-POLITICS-PM defends stewardship, optimistic of regaining power in general election

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart Wednesday defended the stewardship of his ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) over the last five years and said he remained optimistic it would be returned to power in the May 24 general election.
“We are quite optimistic of our chances in this election, we have done our preparatory work and the team is working very hard on the ground doing house to house and other work necessary,” Stuart told reporters after he and other DLP members paid their BDS$250 (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents) deposit ahead of Nomination Day on Monday.
Stuart, who led the party to a 16-14 victory in the 2013 general election against the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), told reporters that unlike the opposition party, all the DLP candidates were prepared to contest the polls.
“We are ready and we are looking forward to the upcoming elections campaign (with) a clear message for the people of Barbados,” Stuart said, adding that he expects the electorate to use the question of leadership as a guide to their vote.
The BLP is led by attorney Mia Mottley, who could become the first woman here to head a government joining Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana, where in the past women had been elected to head the governments in those countries.
“All the elections I have witnessed in Barbados going back to 1961 were fought on leadership, there is nothing new on that,” he said, adding “there is nothing new on fighting an election on leadership, all election campaigns all across the world are fought on leadership because it is generally thought that if you are going to kill a centipede you don’t step on its tail, you step on its head.
“So the thing to do according to the theory is go for the leader and if you could destroy the leader…then you have made substantial progress in the battle.”
Prime Minister Stuart brushed aside suggestions that his administration had been incapable of administering the affairs of the country over the last five years, telling reporters “I say poppycock, nonsense …rubbish.
“We have done this country proud over the last 10 years, we have had to govern Barbados in the most challenging decade the western world has seen since the great depression and we have managed to not only keep Barbados stable but to ensure that those basic amenities to which Barbadians have become accustomed were made available to them on an uninterrupted basis “
He acknowledged that because of the challenging environment in which his administration had to operate “we have had to ask the population to hold hands with us and to trust,” he told reporters.

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