Sandi loses no-confidence motion

Nation Online takes a look back at the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford on June 7, 1994.

Sandi Goes Down 12-14 said the headline in the Daily Nation on Wednesday June 8, 1994.

The previous day, Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford lost a no-confidence motion 12-14 after a long debate in the House of Assembly where four of his Democratic Labour Party Cabinet members voted against him.

Leader of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), Owen Arthur, brought the no-confidence motion to the House over the appointment of a chief executive officer to the Barbados Tourism Authority.

Pausing after leaving the chamber to speak to the media, Sandiford said he would study his options and make a decision about his future and that of the Government in a few days.

Wes Hall (now Sir Wes), Keith Simmons and the late Evelyn Greaves and Harold Blackman all voted against their Prime Minister and party leader, along with former DLP Member of Parliament, Independent Leroy Trotman, and the nine BLP parliamentarians.

That same edition said only the most vocal support came from backbencher, Robert Morris, the representative for Christ Church East Central.

During the debate of no-confidence, Arthur said Sandiford was no longer fit to be Prime Minister and that “his actions have destroyed the credibility and authority attached to the officer of Prime Minister”.

Sandiford spoke for about 50 minutes, the paper reported. He apologised to his fellow colleagues, but said he not committed high crime.

“Tell me what I have done to merit all of this. Have I committed some high crime? No. Am I a drunkard? No. Have I incited some riot or uproar? No. Have I committed grievous bodily harm, assault or batter? Have I committed the offence of seeking to impede the apprehension or prosecution of someone who has committed an arrestible offence? No. Have I committed perjury or contempt of court? No. Have I committed treason, terrorism, sedition or arson? No. …”

The Prime Minister added: “History will be kinder to me than the histrionics and polemics which my opponents have brought to bear on this issue.”

Eleven days later, Governor General Dame Nita Barrow dissolved parliament on Sandiford’s advice, and September 6 was announced as the date for General Elections.  (SAT)


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