Dr Maria Agard may be down, but if the constituents of Christ Church West have their say, she definitely won’t be out.
The embattled Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Member of Parliament (MP) for the area has been given a grade A by the majority of her constituents interviewed by Barbados TODAY, and they also made it clear they would strongly opposed any move to replace her as the candidate.
During a visit this afternoon by Barbados TODAY to several areas of her constituency including Navy Gardens, St Matthias and Bonnetts, most of the residents said they were satisfied with their MP’s performance.
Over the past two weeks Dr Agard has been embroiled in a public squabble with the branch’s executive. And on Sunday when a new 11-member team to run the BLP’s constituency branch was elected, she publicly stated that she had no intention of working with them.
Only recently, a former senior member of the party accused Dr Agard of “having a high level of disconnect” with her constituents.
But during today’s tour, the voters sang a different tune.
According to Navy Garden resident Nicholas Lashley, Dr Agard’s representation was more than adequate.
“I have found her to be very helpful. When we had problems in the area she stepped up, she came out and she pulled in the necessary Government officials for us to have conversations with,” said Lashley, who has resided in the area for the past 12 years.
“I think she is very approachable and very easy to get a hold of. I’ve never had a problem reaching her to speak to her and she has been a very good representative.”
He said he saw no reason why Dr Agard should be removed or replaced.
“There’s absolutely no reason for her to go . . . unless you can bring a better candidate. But you would have to come very good to outdo her.”
Lashley said he had no personal relationship with Dr Agard, and was simply speaking based on the interaction he had with her since she was voted into office in the 2013 election.
Over on the corner of St Matthias at Ricky’s Happy Times Bar, almost the entire group of “limers” gave Dr Agard their full support.
“I am backing her 100 per cent,” a boisterous Sheila Henry responded when asked what she thought of the MP’s performance to date.
“Maria Agard is one of the best representatives we have had here in a long time. I’ve called and spoken to her on several occasions and she even called me personally to invite me to a meeting, and she didn’t have to do that.
“She ain’t gine nowhere, she staying right here. We don’t want anybody else,” Henry, who has been living in the area for 59 years, insisted.
Wismore Belgrave, a resident of September Square, St Matthias echoed similar sentiments. He told Barbados TODAY he wasn’t interested in voting for anyone else.
“We don’t want the BLP to bring anybody else. We have who we want and we are giving Maria Agard our full support.
“I don’t know why people feel that a politician must be at everything to be doing their job. She has done a good job so far.”
Another man who preferred not to give his name commended Dr Agard for “being in touch” with the needs of constituents.
He said it was widely known that she regularly spoke to residents regarding issues they were facing.
However, he admitted it “would be nice” if she could find a way to “work with her committee.”
A trip to Bonnetts also found several supporters of Dr Agard.
A woman who opted not to give her name said she was still confused as to what the fuss was about.
She pointed out that in the less than two years that Dr Agard had been in office she had done a commendable job.
“I don’t know what they expect from her. I think she had done a very good job so far. She has represented her constituency well and I really see no reason why the BLP would want to move her.
“I think it would be a horrible mistake,” the woman explained.
The few detractors who spoke to Barbados TODAY complained that they didn’t see enough of Dr Agard, however, they all said they had not problem with her and none called for her replacement.