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PRESS STATEMENT BY THE HON. MIA AMOR MOTTLEY
Leader of the Opposition
Political Leader, Barbados Labour Party
Earlier this week, Prime Minister, the Honourable David Thompson indicated that all new contracts to CEOs of statutory corporations in his Government would be bound by a clause to resign within 3 months of a change of Government.
We oppose this policy as self-defeating. This is a backward step particularly given the Prime Minister’s comments on January 20th, 2008 at Kensington Oval. On that occasion, he declared that there would be no night of long knives and that the country should rise above partisan politics and should unite.
Firstly, this move reduces the pool of competent Barbadians who will come forward and be willing to serve as there is no security for them given the flexibility our system affords for the calling of a General Election.
Secondly, there is the risk of labeling persons who are appointed for their competence and qualifications as automatically supporting the Political Party in Government who appointed them.
Thirdly, this is a dangerous precedent that achieves nothing more than the polarization of politics in Barbados in a way that has not been part of our culture and in a way that will have consequences that will reinforce political tribalism. In this instance, Barbados and Barbadians will be the loser.
I would like on behalf of the Barbados Labour Party to state categorically that we will not support any such policy.
Further, that we do not believe that persons who have been appointed by a previous administration should be dismissed other than for cause. Any future BLP Government will not seek to dismiss other than for cause and will appoint persons in these positions based on qualifications, experience, record and potential.
In any event, I fundamentally believe to dismiss someone because of whom they support politically is wrong. I have never supported this type of action since coming into public life.
It runs counter to the Constitutional right afforded to Barbadians for freedom of association. It is also for this reason that we have consistently over the last few months spoken out against the numerous unwarranted dismissals that have taken on the character of a Witch Hunt.
We call on Barbadians to publicly reject this policy and to let the Prime Minister know that he ought to be securing the rights of individuals, not seeking to restrict their employment opportunities.
26th July, 2008