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Democratic Labour Party Manifesto 2003
Manifestos » DLP Manifesto 2003» The Journey
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This is our promise to you: to deliver in the next five years and beyond A FAIR SHARE For All.

The Democratic Labour Party holds dear to its core values of: equal opportunity for all, economic and social justice and to the fundamental rights of access to: a job, quality healthcare, education and housing.

The Democratic Labour Party believes that all Barbadians, regardless of social circumstance, colour or religion, only want to be given a fair share of the country's wealth and its other resources.

The Democratic Labour Party sees life as a journey and so intends to provide the environment within which Barbadians can realize their fullest potential.

This manifesto therefore addresses the needs of individuals throughout the stages of life, from those early years; through the adolescent years; adulthood and the retirement years.


The Democratic Labour Party believes the future of our country and the well being of our Nation rest with the nurturing of our children. This nurturing includes the fostering of care, the provision of shelter and the guaranteeing of security for all. This approach cuts across all social, economic and developmental challenges, while seeking to ensure a Fair Share for All.

We recognize that disadvantaged families continue to struggle, while at the same time, middle-class families too need relief if we are to invest in the future by caring for our children and youth.
A New DLP government will therefore establish a Ministry of Family & Social Care by reorganizing other ministries, to deal with among other things, the following:

Family and Community services.

Research and development of programmes intended to strengthen the fabric of the family.

We will intensify health education, and health care for mothers to reduce low birth weight, rates of accidents, incidents of deficiency anemia, and improve the overall quality of pre- and neonatal care.

In keeping with this national priority on the care of our children we pledge to:

  • Consolidate the presently scattered legislation related to care and protection of children into one Children's Act.
  • We will increase Child Care programmes to root out child abuse, drug abuse and to de-institutionalize the care of disabled children.
  • We will develop more community- oriented social care programmes such as group homes, half way houses and foster care.

On the matter of the security of our children the Democratic Labour Party will:

  • Provide a childcare subsidy of $500.00 for single parent families earning below the income tax threshold as well as unemployed single parents.
  • Provide a special-care subsidy of $500.00 for children with disabilities.
  • Introduce HEADSTART - an education programme that will fast track students from nursery through primary school.
  • Provide a textbook grant for Primary School children.
  • Remove VAT from baby equipment like strollers and cradles etc.
  • We will provide childcare, and nursery facilities that offer after-school programmes within or in
    close proximity to industrial estates, for the peace of mind of working mothers.
  • Provide incentives and tax concessions for entrepreneurs to develop daycare and nursery


The Democratic Labour Party is interested in fashioning a new society of village life where there is the continuity of family care.
In this regard we must foster a social and economic environment where every adolescent can identify hope and opportunities to achieve a fair share of the Barbadian dream.

To achieve this reality the Democratic Labour Party will strengthen parenting programmes aimed at developing self-esteem, self-confidence, personal and interpersonal skills and conflict resolution.

In addition to the above, we will:

  • Support the further development of life quality partnerships with schools, churches, and
    other religious institutions, volunteer groups, 4H clubs, law enforcement, the business community and the media through the provision of financial incentives.
  • Encourage the establishment of students' councils at all educational institutions, to play a greater role in enhancing relations between students and staff and family.
  • Encourage the development of a National Students Council with a view of shaping national youth development strategies and policies.
  • Create the National Independence Youth Awards so as to recognize the contribution and accomplishments of our young people.

As a government we will provide:
Life enhancement education that will address issues of:

  • Sexuality
  • Drug use
  • Aids awareness
  • Healthy-lifestyle
  • Moral values
  • We will accord national recognition to the Richard Stoute Teen Talent Competition and provide a subsidy for its further development.
  • We will give financial support to the development of a National Film Institute, that will create and promote local TV programming for the imaging of Barbadian role models.

In seeking to further enhance the security of our adolescent youth the Democratic Labour Party will:

  • Intensify drug and crime prevention programmes by increasing the allocation of financial resources to schools, churches and community based organizations.
  • Start Youth Empowerment - business, sports and cultural - programmes to move the boys from the block to be owners of stock (capital) and guide them on a sustained path of self-development and financial independence:
  • Provide micro loans and technical assistance to ensure the success of these small enterprises.
  • Introduce a $20 million RESTART programme that will seek to reintegrate the marginalized youth back into the mainstream of society.

In keeping with this focus the Democratic Labour Party will:

  • Modernize the existing correctional institutions and systems.
  • Provide recovery services within community centered hostels.


Recognizing that the journey of life from adolescence to adulthood is relationship driven, the Democratic Labour Party will focus special attention on the Care, Security and Shelter of the family.

Within the context of the village life concept, these relationships extend to the workplace, the community, and the recreational and social environment.

The Democratic Labour Party is cognizant that our work force is growing at a faster pace than employment opportunities. We must be creative and pursue job creation strategies that utilize the skills and competencies of the entire working population. This can only be done within an environment that encourages investment, in a new services economy supported by a high-end manufacturing sector and a more sophisticated agriculture sector.

Apart from encouraging existing enterprises to become more relevant in the new global economy, the Democratic Labour Party must facilitate individuals who are willing to become entrepreneurs.

In this regard, self-employment through the creation of small enterprises, in non-traditional areas of business particularly in the services sector, will be the major focus of the Party's job creation strategy.

Taxation on individuals and businesses remains a major burden. Taken as a whole - Vat, Income tax, property taxes, levies etc. -the tax take today amounts to 40 cents out of every dollar. When the DLP left office it was approximately 30 cents. We feel taxation acts as a disincentive to productivity and investment.

The Democratic Labour Party will pursue a lower-tax regime as its main fiscal strategy.

We will:

  • Introduce a tax reduction and a programmes of subsidies that will relieve Barbadians of approximately $210 million in taxation over a 5-year period.

To accomplish this, the Democratic Labour Party will:

  • Reduce corporate taxation to allow for lower costs of doing business, thereby making investment worthwhile.
  • Reduce taxation on workers to increase spending power and consequently provide an incentive for increasing workers productivity.
  • Refocus the social partnership with a view to put in place a massive retraining and retooling programme for workers.

Out of this retraining programme, new job attachments will be created for new entrants into the workforce, as well as enhanced job security, as workers adapt to a changing global environment.

  • The Democratic Labour Party will introduce minimum wage legislation to better equip workers to meet their needs.

We in the Democratic Labour Party understand that it is the dream of every Barbadian to own a home and "a piece of the rock".

In addition to providing shelter and supporting families our housing policy is designed to build respect, pride, cooperation and interaction among individuals, families and communities.

The Democratic Labour Party pledges to make homeownership a reality, by making low and middle-income houses available, funds more accessible, and construction of new homes ultimately more affordable.

To make this dream a reality, we will:

  • Allow all persons living in NHC housing and paying rent for a period of twenty years or more, to own these houses or units, with the payment of a small legal fee, for his/her title deed.
  • Allow all persons living on housing lots owned by government and paying rent for a period of twenty years or more, to own these lots, with a payment of a small legal fee, for his/her title deed.

In other words after paying rent for more than twenty years, you have already paid for the house.

  • Persons living in units for less than the 20 years will be given the opportunity to own the units through the provision of an interest free loan, through arrangements with co-operative Credit Unions or a National Housing Fund, to cover the years required to qualify.

In the case of such sales the NHC will operate as a Condominium Management Company for the up keep of the grounds, play parks and for the maintenance of the roofs, wells and uniformity of block units.

In the area of private home ownership, we will:

  • Remove all duties and taxes on the building materials component of houses valued up to $150,000.
  • On houses valued in excess of $150,000, prospective homeowners will derive benefit from the removal of all duties and taxes on the building materials component of the house value up to $150,000.
  • Newly weds who are paying rent will be allowed to claim an allowance of a maximum of $6,000 in the first year of marriage.
  • Provide mortgages for first time home-owners on government land, which would allow a ten year moratorium of the repayment on the land portion of the property development loan.
  • Encourage by way of incentives insurance coverage of every house.

Existing Homeowners

Land prices and the values attached to property ownership are placing the purchasing of land beyond the reach of the ordinary Barbadian.

In areas where market values for houses and land have risen dramatically, there is a tremendous burden on the shoulders of property owners. Many poor and middle income Barbadians have had to sell properties because they were unable to pay the taxes.

The wholesale selling out of Barbados that now obtains under the Barbados Labour Party will stop.

The Democratic Labour Party will address these concerns and keep land ownership accessible to Barbadians and secure our land heritage for generations to come.

To ensure this, we will:

  • Adjust the method of calculating land taxes. Tax payable will be calculated on 90% of market or improved value in the first year and will be reduced to 65% over a 5 year period. In other words, as your property value increases your taxable value would fall.

More Money in your Pocket

We are making work worthwhile and increasing productivity.

In keeping with our lower-tax regime we will:

  • Move the tax-free income from $15,000 to $20,000 from January 2004.
  • Increase the threshold to $25,000 from income year 2006.
  • Reduce the upper marginal tax rate to 355 from income year 2005 and further to 32% in 2006.

As soon as possible after 2006, we will gradually introduce a single income tax rate of 20%. This wwill conform to the trend set in other major countries within the Caricom single Market and Economy.

The Corporate tax rate will be reduced to 20% in harmony with the upper marginal income tax rate in the same time frame.

  • The first $5,000 of overtime pay will be tax-free. Thereafter the appropriate marginal tax rate would apply.
  • Reduce VAT to 10% on all Food items that currently attract
  • Remove Vat from the first $5,000 of Funeral expenses.

NOTE: The above measures are all part of the $210 million tax-relief package promised over the 5-year period.

For the past decade Public Servants have suffered through structural adjustments and the constraints of an incomes protocol. This act of sacrifice saved Barbados from a devaluation of the dollar. In recognition of this selfless act we will:

  • Allocate $25 million to the Public Servants to be paid as a non-taxable bonus.

To earn you have to learn

The Democratic Labour Party's record of real social transformation is rooted in the economic and social revolution of the 1960's and 70's with the move to universal free secondary education. Education is still seen as the catalyst for upward social mobility in the Barbadian society.

The new global era demands another education revolution of a kind that emphasizes, not only childhood, but also adult and worker education. This is consistent with the need to make the economy more competitive through efficiency gains that would result from higher worker productivity in combination with greater use of technology.

To achieve this, the Democratic Labour will launch a major initiative as part of our Education for Living called "JUMPSTART".

As the third component of our new education thrust - HEADSTART and RESTART being the others - under JUMPSTART we will:

  • Build a workers' college in conjunction with the trade and employers' unions, with the capacity to train 2000 persons in any given semester.
  • Assist in upgrading the Barbados Workers Union Labour College at Mangrove and the Public Workers Academy.
  • Provide opportunities for retired teachers and other professionals to give of their time and expertise in the training of the new workforce.
  • Create new job opportunities across the board for work attachments, internships and effective apprentice-ship schemes.

Health is Wealth

As we journey through life the stress factors associated with living take their toll. With this in mind, the Democratic Labour Party will once again place healthcare at the top of our national priorities. We are committed to the principle that quality healthcare is a fundamental human right.

We further believe that good health will enable Barbadians to lead socially and economically productive lives.

Shortages of linen and pharmaceuticals, low staff morale can no longer be tolerated at our premier healthcare institution. The QEH must once again take pride of place among the best healthcare institutions in the region.

The Democratic Labour Party plans for a healthier Barbados are:

  • To maintain state support and encourage private sector involvement and NGO participation in the provision of healthcare services.
  • To introduce comprehensive Family Life Development programmes in all polyclinics and through our JUMPSTART initiative, with the focus on reducing divorce and separations, teenage pregnancies, child abuse, teenage crime, drug and alcohol abuse and care for the aged.
  • Pursue measures to access new revolutionary drug treatments on HIV/AIDS. Support indigenous research on national treatment options.
  • Build a new Psychiatric Hospital and restructure the delivery of mental health services in keeping with first-world standards.
    The dehumanizing spectacle we now see of sad faces behind green bars along Black Rock will be a thing of the past.
  • Set up a Center for Disease Control with a mandate to research, monitor and educate the Barbadian society on the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, kidney and heart disease.
  • Encourage and promote family support systems for HIV/AIDS victims.
  • Restructure the Drug Service in conjunction with the Pharmacists and Doctors, with a view of making it more patient friendly, efficient and cost effective.
  • Review and return to the Drug Formulary those medications critical to the well-being of our elderly.


This period of life is usually met with anxiety by most Barbadians. Yes, we look forward to the days when we can relax and enjoy the fruits of our labour. However, the current Barbadian reality suggests that retirement comes with deep levels of frustration and concerns about maintaining a decent quality of life and facing the perils of high taxation and a struggle to access basic services.

In light of this, the Democratic Labour Party will reduce the burdens placed on our citizens who have reached their golden years, by introducing progressive policies to combat many unpleasant realities.

We pledge that:

  • All pensioners receiving $250 or less per week will benefit from a subsidy of $360 annually.
  • NIS pensions will be tax-free again, while a $30,000 tax free allowance will apply to all other pensions.
  • We will introduce a minimum pension threshold for all those receiving government related pensions - no Barbadian pensioner should be receiving less than $500 per month.
  • We will reduce VAT on Food to 10%.
  • Remove VAT from the first $5,000 in funeral expenses.
  • Refurbish and upgrade District Hospitals and rename them Care Centers for the Elderly.
  • Establish a preventative blindness and rehabilitation programme at Care Centers.
  • Home-help employees will work a five-day workweek over a seven-day period so that our elderly will receive care on weekends and more jobs will be created.
  • We will provide funding and technical assistance through grants to specialized and registered CBO's and NGO's whose mandate it would be to provide care for the elderly especially those shut-ins in the communities.
  • We will attach nutritionists and other healthcare providers from the Ministry of Health to these service organizations to ensure the holistic care of the elderly.
  • We will provide retirement and financial planning services through our adult education programme called "JUMPSTART".
  • We will establish a mentorship programme that will fully utilize the skills of retired persons in the training of new workers in public and private sector organizations.

The images we have seen over the past few months splashed across our television screens, of elderly persons living in cellars and sheep pens point to the callousness of the Barbados Labour Party. Part of our national priority must be to provide shelter for the aged at this fragile stage of life. To do otherwise would be a blight on our society.

  • We will construct beautifully landscaped homes for the elderly in communities across Barbados, including Government housing estates. This is keeping with our village life concept.

  • The grounds and buildings now occupied by the Psychiatric hospital at Black Rock will be turned into a Village for the Elderly and Homes for the Homeless, on completion of the new hospital for mental health.
  • The DLP will install water borne facilities in all homes by 2005. The elderly will be given priority.
  • Persons constructing or repairing homes to specifically house the elderly or disabled will be granted special tax concessions.

Throughout this journey, we have sought to capture those critical areas of life and to address the needs of our most vulnerable groups in society as well as those who can fend for themselves.

We accept that the development of our human capital is our nation's highest priority. As such we have outlined those initiatives that touch peoples' lives - from the cradle to the grave.

The prime impulse of the Democratic Labour Party is to ensure the sound, orderly and rapid development of Barbados and its people in the shortest possible time. We believe that whenever we have earned the trust of the people we have delivered.

We now invite you to turn to our policy pages where we outline fully, how we intend to develop our key sectors as we seek to deliver A Fair Share For All.

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Barbados Electoral and Boundaries Commission
Bajan Free Party (2018). Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/Bajan-Free-Party-BFP-HonAlex-MitchellEl-1767331239973521/
Barbados Integrity Movement (2018). Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/barbdaosintegritymovement/?ref=py_c
Barbados Labour Party. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.blp.org.bb/
Coalition of United Party. (2018) Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/alexmitchell.el/
Democratic Labour Party. (2018). Retrieved from http://dlpbarbados.org/site/
Solutions Barbados. (2018). Retrieved from https://solutionsbarbados.com/
United Progressive Party. (2018). Retrieved from https://uppbarbados.org/
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