Hotel Management Executive, Ian Gooding-Edghill, was unanimously chosen on Sunday night to be the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) candidate for St Michael West Central at the next general election, as party leader Mia Mottley gave notice of plans for an intense campaign.
Meeting at the Lawrence T Gay Primary School, constituency branch members made short work of the nomination process by putting forward no other names to challenge Gooding-Edghill, thus paving the way for him to take on, for the second time, sitting Democratic Labour Party (DLP) MP, James Paul, to whom he lost by 193 votes in the 2013 general election.
The tone of congratulatory messages that followed from party stalwarts, Rev Joseph Atherley, Dale Marshall and Ronald Toppin, showed that the BLP is still hurting from the narrowness of that defeat, as they suggested everything was not all right with the voting process.
None more so than Miss Mottley. “Last election, more money was spent to make sure that Ian Gooding-Edghill could not win this seat than was spent in every other constituency other than St Michael North West,” she said to loud applause from party faithful who packed two combined classrooms.
She gave the reason for this alleged vote-buying. “Because pound for pound, man for man, the people understood on the ground that Ian Gooding-Edghill is a far better potential representative than James Paul could ever be”.
For this reason, Mottley advised diehard Labourites, as she spoke of the battle plan for the next national elections constitutionally due in 2018, “Do not take anything for granted and I will ask none of you to work harder than I’m prepared to work.”
“Get fit now, because nothing will be left to chance because this is no ordinary election. What is at stake is the soul of a country and the future of a people.”
With this uncontested nomination, Gooding-Edghill, executive director of Human Resources at the Elegant Hotels Group, has become the third named BLP candidate for the next general election. Colin Jordan in St Peter and Peter Phillips in St Lucy have already been selected.
“We have started the process of the nomination of candidates to be the team of the Barbados Labour Party that would be offered to the country on the next election, whenever that is called,” Mottley said, as she hinted at changes to the list with an emphasis on youth.
“Some of us have been in this for a very long time and we need to bring new blood to the table as well,” she said in an address lasting just over half an hour.
“The new blood is not to be determined by degrees, by how much money they make, [but] by people who are committed first and foremost to people . . . and secondly to integrity.
“We will roll out, therefore, the next few nominations as we go through the summer.”
In a further indication that the party is mindful of Gooding-Edghill’s 2013 defeat by under 200 votes, Mottley made known that she and a team will be working closely with the second-time candidate.
“While my constituency is across the road . . . I was born in St Michael West Central. My navel string was buried in this constituency, and I therefore, have come with a very simple message to you (Gooding-Edghill) and to the people of St Michael West Central. When you go to the next election, you see one, you see the other. You touch one between now and then, you touch the other.
“Ian Gooding-Edghill and I will be inextricably linked to make sure that the people of St Michael West Central are relieved of the burden of … one Paul.”