Minister of Agriculture and Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick is not shaking in his boots in fear of the latest political party to emerge here.
Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) reject Lynette Eastmond today introduced the United Progressive Party (UPP), although she refused to disclose who would run for her fledgling party.
Estwick, who defeated Eastmond in St Philip West, paid little attention to the new party, casually dismissing the former Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development as nothing more than a three-time loser.
“The only comment I would make at this time is this: If after three election defeats – 2003, 2008 and 2013 this is how she wants to spend her time, I wish her well in her endeavours,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Estwick was not the only one disregarding Eastmond, who could not convince political scientist Peter Wickham that the new party would be relevant.
Wickham said the UPP’s chairman had a personal axe to grind and the party had been formed, not because of diverging political ideologies but by “Eastmond’s difficulties with the current leadership of the BLP”.
“She ran as a BLP candidate under Owen Arthur and the fact that she has no longer been chosen as a BLP candidate under Mia Mottley speaks volumes. So to leave the organization and to go outside says to me that she doesn’t have problems with the Barbados Labour Party itself but she has problems with Mia Mottley because she ran as a BLP candidate.
“This is especially so in a situation where the DLP [Democratic Labour Party] has not considered taking her as a candidate on this occasion. So her response is to go off and start a third party. So it feels kind of personal ” Wickham contended.
Eastmond had previously been linked to the recently formed Barbados Integrity Movement, comprising disgruntled members of the BLP.
She shut down the suggestion last month as propaganda, insisting she was “not a member of any new political party”.
“Unless they expelled me, I am still a member of the Barbados Labour Party,” she was quoted as telling one local newspaper.
She had also given a subtle hint of what was to come by stating she was still a political enthusiast and was looking forward to the next general election.
However, Wickham told Barbados TODAY he did not foresee the UPP having any impact on the next general election, while dismissing suggestions that the new party would split the opposition votes.
For this to happen, the pollster argued, the UPP would have to attract candidates of stronger political mettle since Eastmond did not have the presence which could reshape the political landscape.
“If you have a detractor in the shape of an Owen Arthur for example, I think that would be something that could create some political sensation. But if you have a BLP detractor who as a BLP candidate has never won an election, then what exactly are you projecting? She [Eastmond] ran in the last three elections and lost . . . so she is a detractor but not a successful detractor.
“If you were able to attract a person who was a member of Parliament, like the example of the NDP under Dr Richard Haynes and he started off with himself and two other successful candidates for the National Democratic Party and ultimately he won a seat. So to say that she is a detractor is not something I agree with,” he said.
At the party’s launch at the Courtyard by Marriott this morning, Eastmond urged Barbadians to judge the viability of the new entity based on its candidates’ ability to do the job and not on their ability to attract political heavyweights. She contended that the time had come for Barbadians to look past “the pretty talk” and vote for candidate who can deliver.