The battle for Christ Church West has turned personal with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the man carrying the flag for the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Dr William Duguid engaged in a bitter public tussle.
Stuart launched a broadside against Dr Duguid yesterday at the annual luncheon of the constituency branch of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) at Almond Bay, Hastings, claiming that the former BLP representative ran away from elective politics prior to the 2013 general election when he thought that it was of no value to him anymore.
An angry Dr Duguid fired back today, taking aim at Stuart’s family life and questioning why the Prime Minister never got married.
“I was extremely disappointed and quite taken aback to hear the Prime Minister utter those words. Unlike Prime Minister Stuart, I am very much a family person. I had a duty and a responsibility to my family and I had things to take care of which I took care of during the time that I was no longer in elective politics.
“Unlike the Prime Minister I have had a family for almost 20 years. I understand that he has never been married and I don’t know why. Certainly I had things to take care of and I am very disappointed in Stuart,” he told Barbados Today.
The dentist-turned-politician first represented the constituency in 2003 before resigning ahead of the 2013 poll and migrating to Canada.
In his place, the BLP had installed another dentist, Dr Maria Agard, who was expelled from the party last November at the height of a bitter internal impasse but remains the sitting representative for the constituency in Parliament while she awaits the outcome of her court challenge to her BLP dismissal.
Dr Duguid also contended that Stuart was rejected by family and friends in his native St Philip and had to run in St Michael South to win a seat.
Stuart first represented St Philip South for one term from 1994 before losing in 1999. He returned to parliament after winning the St Michael South seat in 2008, when the DLP was returned to office.
“ I, on the other hand, was asked to return by the people of Christ Church West who were sorry to see me go, and asked me to return after the difficulties they were having in the constituency when Dr Maria Agard was expelled from the party in November last year,” Dr Duguid explained.
He also took a shot at the Prime Minister’s stewardship since assuming office in October 2010, saying: “He has almost brought the National Insurance Scheme to its knees; he has completely destroyed employment and the economy of this country because there is absolutely no confidence in him. All Stuart does is pick on people who are just a simple candidate. I am not a Prime Minister; I am not a minister of Government and was never a minister. I am just a simple candidate who comes to election at great personal sacrifice to assist the people of Christ Church West. I am sure that when he comes to his senses he will realize that he spoke out of turn.”
Dr Duguid identified the Right Excellent Errol Barrow and the late Sir Frederick Smith as two DLP stalwarts who either took a sabbatical from politics or resigned from elective politics only to return at a later date.
“So it is not unheard of to hear of members of parliament who stepped out of politics for a while only to return. However, for Stuart to suggest that politics had nothing for me at the time of my resignation is absolutely ludicrous and totally ridiculous,” Dr Duguid explained.
The DLP’s flag carrier in Christ Church West in the attorney-at-law Verla De Peiza.