Former Member of Parliament Dr William Duguid today announced he will be returning to elective politics, while promising a fresh approach.
Dr Duguid told a press conference at Arthur Smith Primary School this afternoon that he has written to the General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Dr Jerome Walcott, notifying him of his intention to seek the nomination as the party’s candidate to represent the Christ Church West constituency, in the next general election, constitutionally due in 2018.
Duguid held the seat from 2003 to 2013 before migrating to Canada with his family, and was succeeded by Dr Maria Agard, who was expelled from the BLP last November.
He declared that his return to politics was for the people of that constituency and Barbados “who have given me so much over the years and now it is my turn to give and to say thank you.”
“I know this is going to be a hard fight, but it is a fight worth fighting because the future of this nation is at risk of being further eroded by the draconian measures implemented by this Democratic Labour Party administration.
“To all of my constituents I want to say do good and good shall attend you. ‘Do good’ is back and only with your help can I return Christ Church West to its former state of new hope and a future of endless blessings,” the dentist said to cheers from a classroom full of constituents.
He referred to the expulsion of Dr Agard, who now sits in parliament as an independent MP, stating that for the first time in 44 years the constituency is not represented by a BLP member in parliament.
Dr Duguid noted that Dr Agard’s expulsion was unfortunate, and he thought the matter could have been settled amicably.
“An unprecedented turn of events … as far as I am aware, in Barbados. A sitting member expelled from the party, whose ticket she was elected on and thus a vacancy now exists for a new person to be nominated and after ratification, take on the mantle of being the candidate for the party.
“Most if not all of us understand how easy it is to lose composure in the heat of the moment. But on reflection, during calmer times, when you recognize your mistakes, you seek to correct them.
“I have made mistakes in the past, but I feel that through healing and reconciliation we can move past this difficult time and come out refreshed and renewed with a stronger resolve to make Christ Church West the best,” he said.
He also advised Dr Agard, who was granted a leave of absence from parliament last month due to illness, to take time from her political career to get better.
“Of course Dr Agard is a colleague of mine and I care very much for her. I care very much for her well-being and also I care very much about her future career, but I haven’t spoken to her as yet,” he said.
He stressed that re-entering political life could cause a strain on his wife and two children, however he noted that “it was clear to me that their desire is to make sure that every single Barbadian has an opportunity to pursue a better life for themselves and their families”.
“Change can cause a significant disruption to the lives we try to make for ourselves, in the same way that change from a thriving Barbados to junk bond status has seen a reduction in this country’s status in various categories within the region and worldwide.
“The current threat to our healthcare system is real, like the attack we have seen on our tertiary educational system in particular over the last few years. The efforts made in the past to put Barbados in the category of a developed country have been cast aside by a faltering economy and constant mismanagement by the current administration,” he said.
“With this emerging threat like Zika virus and challenges in dealing with domestic issues like violence against women and children, we must remain relevant and innovative in the way that we seek to protect our people. This country requires people with vision who can work together with the medical, religious and social communities to safe guard our most important resource our people,” a passionate Dr Duguid added.
He said that while he was ready to make sacrifices for the betterment of the constituency, he wants all constituents to be “prepared in the future to forsake themselves” and take up the challenge and be ready to work.