Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, will face a new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) challenger for the Christ Church West Central seat at the next general election, just over two years away.
Pharmacist Adrian Forde, who comes to politics with a reputation for helping young people in the constituency, was unanimously chosen last night at a meeting of the BLP’s Christ Church West Central branch at the Christ Church Foundation School auditorium.
A succession of speakers hailed the choice of Forde, describing him as “a good man”, “compassionate”, and “someone who sets standards”, among other compliments.
BLP leader Mia Mottley criticized Lashley for what she described as inaction in the constituency.
“In Adrian, you don’t have the promise of action. You have the reality of action working for people in Christ Church West Central,” she said. “This type of representation matters to us. It matters to us to help people every day, to care.”
The youthful Forde is credited with helping large numbers of young people, especially men, in the district, and Mottley spoke of one of his programmes, HOPE – Helping Our People Everyday.
“When Adrian can start a programme called HOPE, not only does he understand the need to help people everyday, but he understands that if you don’t give people hope, they ain’t got nothing to live for.
“I look forward truly to being able to walk with Adrian Forde throughout the length and breadth of this constituency,” Mottley went on. “Adrian Forde sets a standard for representation that will become a gold standard in this country.”
“A multifaceted man not adding only in the area in which he is trained, pharmacy, pharmacology and health care, but also in his passion to work with young people and work at the level of the community, and helping us to build out what the Labour Party calls proudly . . . the youth and creative economy, and I look forward to this kind of talent setting the standard of representation in the south,” Mottley added.
Queen’s Counsel Ralph Thorne, himself nominated few weeks ago to represent the BLP in Christ Church South, said: “He has put young men to work without being morally or legally obligated to do so . . . . He did it out of the love for his brothers and sisters.
“He did not hand them a fish, he has taught them to fish. Adrian has demonstrated that he is joined to this constituency. A good man and I feel comfortable with my association with Adrian,” Thorne said.
The party member nominating Forde, Errol Browne, said, “Adrian’s greatest characteristic is his compassion, his willingness to help those who seem helpless.” He added: “A compassionate human being who is in his comfort zone when helping, giving and assisting is needed.”
Browne reported that the candidate started and is still involved with a driving programme for young men. He set up a company named ‘Medic Freighting’ for some of the qualifying drivers, who now own and operate the firm, with Forde as the advisor.
The nominator also sang Forde’s praises for setting another young person on course for a successful business selling conch shells on the beach.
Addressing the scores of supporters in the school, Forde recalled what transpired when the conch shell seller approached him with the business idea. “I tell him straight and plain, let us meet as a committee and see what we can do. He is now making US$250 a day, putting money in the foreign reserves of this country . . . . He is employing somebody and is paying taxes.”
“That’s how you grow a country, by empowering people.”
The candidate said his vision is for a Barbados that gives opportunity to those who are trying to help themselves. “All we asking for is economic fairness across the board”. He spoke of a number of artisans and other persons out of work and declared, “There is nothing going on for the people of this constituency… I’m going to fight for them and I want you to walk with me”. (GA)