BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Finance Minister Chris Sinckler has become the second government minister to publicly distance himself from attempts to remove Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart from office.
“I’m not dealing with any of that. I have no comment on that; I know nothing about that other than what I read in the press,” Sinckler said on the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) television on Monday night.
Sinckler joins Minister of Commerce Denis Kellman who on Monday said he had no intention of committing “political suicide” and that was a supporter of Stuart, who came to office following the death of then Prime Minister David Thompson in October last year.
But the DAILY NATION newspaper which broke the story of the dissention within the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) said that it is sticking to its story that there have been moves to remove Stuart on the grounds that the DLP legislators believe they would stand a better chance going into the next general election without him.
“Against the backdrop of growing concern among supporters of the Government and our party, with respect to perceived weaknesses in our leadership of the country, and a sense of drift and inertia arising therefrom, we the undersigned elected members of the Parliamentary Group seek an urgent audience with you to discuss matters of grave concern to us, as well as to chart a path forward for the retention of our party in Government,” the group said in their letter.
The DAILY NATION Tuesday quoted Minister of Health Donville Inniss as saying he would “neither admit nor deny” anything appearing in the media.
“If there are indeed internal discussions on matters surrounding the future of the party, such discussions ought to remain in the party and not be put out there in the public domain,” he added.
The paper, quoting well placed sources, said that Stuart “held private talks with individual members of the complaining group before leaving the island” on Monday for New York.
But the publication noted that some of the dissenting legislators were now having “cold feet” and “had indicated to Stuart that they were not prepared to press him any further on a meeting to discuss his leadership style”.
Meanwhile, political scientist Dr George Belle has described as “extremely reckless political behaviour” the move to unseat Prime Minister Stuart.
Belle said that the situation demanded a firm response from the Prime Minister, who he suggested needed to either reshuffle his Cabinet immediately or fire some of the perceived rebel ministers in his team.
“If you can confront a leader in a way that is apparently the case, then there is a severe fracture and it now depends on the leader to rearrange power within the organization to such an extent that it can be held together,” Belle told the DAILY NATION.