BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is predicting that his ruling Democratic labour Party (DLP) will be returned to power when it faces the electorate in the next general election.
“We will win the next general election and with your full support we will resolve to do so in a convincing manner,” Stuart told supporters at the party’s 57th annual conference on Sunday.
General elections are constitutionally due in 2013, but there is much speculation that Stuart, who took over the helm of the government following the death of then prime minister David Thompson in October 2010, will call the polls ahead of the constitutional deadline.
Prime Minister Stuart told the DLP faithful that ‘although victory may be ours for the taking” he was warning supporters “it is not going to come easy.
“It is going to call for discipline, clarity of purpose and unfailing commitment,” he said, adding “winning requires a particular mindset”.
Stuart said that the DLP was quietly getting its election machinery in place and acknowledged that the state of the economy, despite the ongoing global crisis, remains stable.
“The open and dependent nature of our fragile economy means we are more vulnerable to external shocks,” he said, adding that his administration is committed to preserving the socio-economic gains of the country.
During his address, Prime Minister Stuart said that a report on the issue surrounding the collapse of the insurance company, CLICO, had been stolen and circulated “unlawfully”.
“The Prime Minister was roundly condemned for not commenting on a report that he had not seen. And he had not seen the report because at the time that he was being condemned, the report was in unauthorised circulation because it had been stolen. I have never been a thief, self-confessed, petty or otherwise.
“ I sleep comfortably at night because there is no man, woman or child in Barbados or outside of Barbados, who has a secret holding for me. There is nothing in the life of Freundel Jerome Stuart of which he can be made to feel ashamed. I have chosen to live my life that way,” he said, noting that the report did not include any issue of which his administration had been accused.
“I discovered that it had accused the Government of nothing, had accused the Prime Minister of nothing, has accused the Minister of Finance of nothing, had accused the late Prime Minister of nothing, and was merely an interim report, stating no conclusions about any of the matters it was investigating.
“But if you were hearing the debate, you would have believed that Barbados was about to implode, or explode, as a result of the contents of this stolen document in unauthorised circulation,” he added.
Prime Minister Stuart told supporters that his administration is working along with other Caribbean countries to find a best solution to deal with the collapse of the Trinidad-based regional insurance conglomerate, CLICO, and was determined to protect policy holders and their investments.
“Let me repeat for the record. CLICO does not now belong and has never belonged to the Government of Barbados. It is a private concern in which people in Barbados and other parts of the Caribbean invested money in various types of insurance policies. It ran into difficulties, putting those investments at risk.
“It is now under judicial management and because of its regional scope, Heads of Government from across the region are working to resolve these outstanding challenges in such a way as to eliminate or minimise losses to investors.
“My predecessor in office, the late David John Howard Thompson, the Governor of the Central Bank and I have stated publicly what we intend the Barbados approach to the problem to be,” Prime Minister Stuart told supporters.