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Political history in Barbados as Opposition party expels sitting MP

In an unprecedented move, the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has expelled one of its members, a sitting Member of Parliament, over what it says was inappropriate conduct and her failure to be a team player.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley announced at a press conference last night that Christ Church West MP Dr. Maria Agard was no longer a member of the BLP. The disclosure followed Agard’s appearance before the party’s National Council.

Agard had been summoned to appear before the panel yesterday evening on nine charges related to “breaches of discipline”, following a four-year battle with the executive of her own branch that recently played out in the traditional and social media.

She attended the hearing with a legal representative Hal Gollop Q.C., but they both walked out less than an hour later.

Mottley said the decision to expel Agard was not an easy one, but it had to be taken as a matter of principle.

“These charges, contrary to those who would seek to trivialize them, are fundamental. At the very heart of it, they go to the respect for the authority of organs of the party, that are critical to its functioning as a mass-based political organization – in other words, the failure of Dr. Agard to recognize the legitimacy of a democratically elected branch of this party – her own branch,” she said.

“They speak to the failure of Dr. Agard to be guided by the party’s Council – not to further speak to the media on this matter, so as to allow for reconciliation between herself and her branch. They also speak to her inappropriate conduct, whether in misconstruing the facts in the media or offensive profanities posted on social media.

“And finally, they speak to the failure of Dr. Agard to be a team player – and to play her part by attendance at the Annual Conference and a series of nominations in the very parish where she is the only sitting Member of Parliament for the party,” the BLP leader added.

Mottley insisted that the issue had nothing to do with freedom of speech, but one of discipline and respect for authority and willingness to work together in an organization with other people.

But Gollop described the tribunal as “unfair” and charged that the same people who brought the charges against his client were also sitting on the disciplinary panel.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

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