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Friday, May 27, 2022
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Opposition leader fires back

Barbados – Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s statement about opposition senator Caswell Franklyn is playing politics, has landed her on the bad side of Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley who has accused her of doing the exact same thing.

Atherley said it was also “awkward” that Prime Minister Mottley would accuse Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn of “playing politics”, “I certainly thought it was disappointing, it was awkward, it is an insult to the intelligence of the Barbadian public that you can accuse somebody of playing politics while at the same time yourself playing politics.” 

During a press conference on Wednesday, Mottley, who received full support from other union representatives and the private sector andcondemned the strike action which is said to have affected the national COVID-19 vaccination drive.

The Prime Minister indicated that the pay of the striking healthcare workers would be docked for the duration of their time off the job.

Mottley said “It is my considered judgment that this matter is not industrial; this matter is political and we are in the silly season,”.

However, Atherley indicated “What I do feel is a strong sense of disappointment over the Prime Minister’s tone and statements to attribute Senator Franklyn’s motives or motivation purely to politics and an attempt to be part of the activities of what she called the silly season. I think that is unbecoming in this instance. How could she say that without certainty and evidence?”

He added “The thing is that when she makes that statement she is making that statement in a context where she herself is playing politics,”.

Atherley said he is concerned that the press briefing was convened following what he assumed was a Social Partnership meeting, with Mottley having representatives of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Congress of Trade Union and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) and the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) at her side.

“I think that is pretty unbecoming. You cannot be at the same time calling out Senator Franklyn for being political when you yourself are being political. Here it is, you put these labour leaders in an awkward and compromised position because they are now part of what you have turned into a mounted political platform to lay an assault against the opposition forces which you say are allegedly arrayed against you in this matter.

Mottely he said  made reference to the 3,000 people appointed in the public service, legislation that was brought to Parliament, she talked about the minimum wage, the first [pay increase] to the public service in 13 years – that is mounting a political platform and having the benefit, beside you, of innocent parties who perhaps had sat down there for other reasons.”

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