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Jan 9, 2003

Barrow: The U.D.P. will not be blackmailed

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He faces a current legislative deficit of twenty-six to three, commands a slate of many first time candidates and is staring into the face of what looks like an early election. But why is Leader of the Opposition, Dean Barrow, smiling? This afternoon he got the chance to explain.

Dean Barrow, Leader of the Opposition

“The case against the P.U.P. is made. We are now trying to construct our positive ads that will showcase our position on core issues.”

Making his case for a U.D.P. victory in 2003 is Party Leader Dean Barrow.

Janelle Chanona

“Is the United Democratic Party looking at this elections in a technical manner, saying we have this number of seats secured, we have this number of seats in limbo or anything like that?”

Dean Barrow

“We certainly can’t realistically expect to win twenty-nine constituencies, and we know that there are some constituencies that are harder than others. But we’re not conceding defeat in any. We think that the mood of the electorate is such that it’s all up for grabs, that there is no seat that is safe for the P.U.P. But, as I said, practically speaking, some are going to be easier for us to win than others. When we try to add up the numbers, and to do so in as conservative a manner as we possibly, can we can’t see the U.D.P. gaining less than eighteen seats.”

Recent announcement by former party members of intentions to run as independent candidates are sure to hurt the U.D.P. in votes and by the public’s perceptions…but Barrow isn’t worried.

Dean Barrow

“An independent candidacy is at best a romantic gesture, at worst an ego trip. No independent can do anything really for the people of a constituency in terms of the long haul. If you’re not in government, you can’t help. And it would be too farfetched for people to say, well let us still vote for him because maybe there might be a tie and he will hold the balance of power and then he can…nobody, nobody is realistically going to think in those terms.”

“It won’t fundamentally affect us. The bottom line is even if it does, or even if we were to be shown proof positive that it will, we are not prepared to comprise with these people. They have done what they have done. Let the chips fall where they may. I have said that as a party we wish to be known, even in Opposition, for setting out a position and sticking to our principles. Nobody, as long as I am there, will hold the United Democratic Party to ransom, nobody will blackmail us. I believe that I speak for the collective sentiment of the party when I say we are prepared to lose an election rather than come loose from our principles.”

Janelle Chanona

“But in the general elections of 2003, there’s sure to be a political clash. Not only on party platforms and propaganda, but on personalities in hotly contested constituencies like Barrow’s own, Queen Square.”

Dean Barrow

“I have been reluctant to be drawn out on this score because a lot of what I do is intensely personal and I don’t belong to the school of politics that people like Bradley, Mark Espat and Godfrey Smith belong to. That school is that everything you do, you beat your chest and you bring in the TV cameras and you run ads. I don’t think that’s the way to do it. If you’re providing services for people, which you’ve been elected to do, you provide those services and you keep your mouth shut, because you’re not doing anybody and favours. But if you took a stock, I have built more houses for the people of Queen’s Square than Dickie Bradley has, even though he is the Minister of Housing. I’ve built in the division and outside the division. And that comes back to what I’ve told you about people moving out. When I built houses for people who are in Queen Square but because there’s limited land I have to build in another constituency and they move out, they don’t change their registration, and their loyalty remains to Dean Barrow.”

Janelle Chanona

“Do you think the Opposition will be given a chance to debate the budget?”

Dean Barrow

“I’m certain that there is going to be some time given for debate, whether it’s a full week I don’t know, but I would think so. I would think that the debate wouldn’t be held before the following Thursday. If it’s a one-day debate, then I can see the Senate being called into session on the Friday, the budget then being passed, and a dissolution of the National Assembly taking place Monday the twenty-seventh, I think that would be of January.”

“I don’t see how, if the thing unfolds as we are contemplating, where the dissolution doesn’t take place until on or around the twenty-seventh January. I don’t see that we could be having the election much before the last week in February.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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