Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate Dr William Duguid says he will not be sidetracked by recent charges made by his former dental and political colleague Dr Maria Agard.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY yesterday, Agard openly challenged Duguid to tell the people of Christ Church West the real reason why he had packed up his bags and “abandoned” them back in 2009, while suggesting that he simply did not have the “stomach” for Opposition politics following the humiliating defeat inflicted on the BLP a year earlier by the now ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
However, Duguid, who had stated at the time that he was migrating to Canada to be with his family, totally sidestepped Agard’s challenge today, saying, “I believe there will be plenty of time for that later on . . . [but right now] I will not be sidetracked.
“I am just going to remain focused on serving the people of Christ Church West. As you know the [BLP’s annual] conference [last weekend] was about being focused and being ready and I will just remain focused on my service to the people of Christ church West at this time,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Among the serious charges levelled by Agard, who had previously shared a dental practice with Duguid and had also served as his branch president in Christ Church West, was that he had squandered the party’s dominant position in that southern riding, where support for the BLP was whittled down from 2,000 votes, when he took over from Henry Forde – now Sir Henry – to 650 votes in the two terms he served as representative.
Agard, who succeeded Duguid in the constituency before she was expelled from the BLP last year, was also incensed by his suggestion that he had somehow come back to save Christ Church West. Referring to the speech he made at last weekend’s BLP convention, Agard said while the impression had recently been given that she was the one who was responsible for creating all the trouble in the constituency, she had in fact inherited a “bitter and fractured branch” when she took over from Duguid, who she accused of deserting the constituents when they needed him most.
Earlier today Duguid had scheduled a 4 p.m. press conference to respond to Agard. However, he later had a change of heart, telling Barbados TODAY that instead of responding to the Christ Church West incumbent, he intended to focus his immediate energies on reclaiming her seat for the BLP.
“We have a lot of wonderful plans, we are right now putting together a celebration to commemorate the 40 years of the people’s moves from Emmerton to Clapham,” he said, adding that he was also preparing to stage a fourth mass canvass and to host a constituency luncheon at the end of the year.
“We are also going to have a meet-the-candidate session at the former Big B Massy Supermart and we continue to meet the constituents privately and try to meet their needs as best we can,” said Duguid, who felt he stood a good chance of winning the next poll.
“I wouldn’t like you to characterize it that I’m bragging, but I certainly feel confident that I will continue to serve the people of Christ Church West and they appreciate the service and the work that I do,” he said.