Having lost two straight elections in Christ Church South, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott is walking out on the constituency. But in parting he has advised supporters to prepare for an early general election.
Dr Walcott announced Sunday at a party constituency meeting that he no longer wished to contest the seat. However, he did not say if this meant he planned to run elsewhere.
The former Minister of Health, who won the seat in 2002 but lost it in 2008 and failed in his bid to regain it in 2013 acknowledged that one win and two defeats were not good enough.
“I faced the polls three times in this constituency, I was successful once. I lost twice. The last time, I think that most of us were convinced that we were going to be successful, but that was not to be. The electorate always has the final say, and they determined that. But I always made a pledge that I would never stay around longer than I was wanted, “ he said.
“I have decided that it is proper time for me to move on.”
Walcott’s decision to withdraw from Christ Church South and the absence of clarity about his plans have re-ignited speculation on whether he intends to contest another seat.
Earlier this year Barbados TODAY reported on discomfort caused to Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Dr Maria Agard who party sources said complained at a national executive committee meeting that Dr Walcott had encroached on her electoral area.
At that time sources said Dr Agard, who got 2,340 votes to the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Verla DePeiza’s 1,808 and independent candidate Taan Abed’s 374, was being forced to look over her shoulder with Walcott, who lost by over 600 votes to the DLP’s John Boyce in neighbouring Christ Church South, said to be looking west.
While not commenting on his plans for national electoral politics, Dr Walcott indicated during Sunday’s meeting at the St Lawrence School that he wished to continue serving as the BLP General Secretary and asked for the support of the very constituency he was walking out on.
“I still hope the party members in Christ Church South will find it in their hearts to nominate me to General Secretary, even though I’ve shown that I am moving on away from Christ Church South,” he said.
Walcott leaves the BLP Christ Church South riding with no heir-apparent, and he sounded a note of concern to his comrades.
“As General Secretary I have received thus far no letters of interest of anyone desirous of running in Christ Church South.”
In his final message to the branch Dr Walcott admonished them to gird their loins for a general election, repeating an earlier prediction that the DLP government would take advantage of the “euphoria” of the 50th anniversary of independence to hold the poll.
“[There is] an urgent need for us in this constituency to get ready. We don’t know when the elections might be called . . . I maintain that with everything happening, in terms of the economy not going right, Government is now presented with the perfect opportunity, with Barbados marking 50 years of independence next November, it is certainly there for them to launch a massive year of celebrations from November this year . . . And right after the 50th anniversary of independence an election could be called at any time.” (GA)