A young trade unionist is considering contesting the next general election on an Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) ticket in one of the St Michael constituencies.
But Government statistician and general treasurer and chairman of the salaries and allowances committee of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Asokore Beckles said negotiations for a pay rise for public servants would first have to be completed before he made a decision on his political future.
Beckles, who is the president of the BLP’s Young Socialists, suggested that declaring his candidacy would be a distraction.
“At this time, my concentration is about getting salary increases for the workers of Barbados considering the fact that I am the general-treasurer of the NUPW, and continue working for the people of Barbados in my capacity as statistician for Government . . . and if after those things the people from St Michael South, or St Michael South East or South Central or St Peter or wherever else want me to serve, I would have no issue in doing that. But my concentration right now is salaries,” the young leader emphasized.
Beckles initially appeared to ridicule the suggestion, dismissing as “shocking and laughable”, reports that he had been seen canvassing in St Michael South. However, he also told Barbados TODAY he would not rule out serving his country through elective politics.
“I have been hearing this for quite sometime now, so it’s a bit shocking and laughable because I have been hearing this for couple months now.
“People have been asking me to get involved in national politics being that I came out of a humble family . . . at the end of the day I would have achieved a lot and tried to inspire other young people on the way up. So they have been saying to me to get involved, even if it wasn’t for one area it would be for another,” said the 32-year- old.
Beckles will be involved in talks between the NUPW and Government for wage increases. He said that in the next few days, the union would request a meeting with Government to begin negotiations. He did not say what percentage the workers’ representative would seek, but he admitted the union would make a case for double-digit increases.