The comfortable majority which Dr Denis Lowe enjoyed in Christ Church East in the 2013 general election is under threat, with many of his voters rubbishing his performance as Member of Parliament, when Barbados TODAY went on a three-hour Pulse of the People visit to the constituency Friday.
The majority of the people with whom Barbados TODAY spoke were longstanding supporters of ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and had helped Lowe defeat Wilfred Abrahams of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) by 3,455 votes to 2,487 when the two went head to head in the last election.
But with a general election due in a year or so, many of these same voters are no longer sure Lowe is their man.
While these DLP faithful had not thrown their support behind the BLP, their dissatisfaction with their representative meant they had moved to the “undecided” category.
“I support him 75 per cent . . . [but] I am undecided how I would vote because of his invisibility and because he doesn’t report sometimes at constituency meetings,” said David Thompson of Chancery Lane Terrace, who complained of poor roads, water outages and poor sanitation service, for which Lowe is directly responsible.
DLP supporter Luther Nurse of Breedy’s Land was also undecided; so too was Calvin Sargeant, a fisherman who had been backing the party since 1975.
Sargeant, who lives near Round Rock, Silver Sands, had a litany of complaints, including broken promises to build a bridge over a stream in Round Rock and the provision of a crane at Oistins to haul boats.
The fisherman said boat owners were forced to travel as far as St John to haul their vessels during inclement weather, leaving them as much as $3,000 out of pocket.
Gervine Sargeant, who operates the London Bar where Barbados TODAY met Sargeant, made an interesting point.
“Lowe is alright . . . he is nice, but the Prime Minister must go.”
While she was speaking, two young men who sat nearby shouted: “We hungry and brek. We want jobs.”
One constituent who asked to be referred to only as Big Man, said he was from a family of lifelong DLP supporters, and he, too, was unhappy with Lowe’s performance, describing the parliamentarian as petty and discriminating.
“I am not happy with his representation . . .but I am waiting and seeing . . . [I am] undecided,” Big Man said while liming at a bar in another section of Silver Sands.
“I feel a lot of people ‘bout here fed up with Lowe.”
However, not everyone had given up on the representative, despite their disaffection.
For example, architect Julian Harding of 4th Avenue, Chancery Lane North said he was terribly unhappy that Lowe had not followed through on a promise to install street lights in his area, which is extremely dark at night.
The 67-year-old Harding’s business has “hit rock bottom” and because he had not contributed sufficiently to the National Insurance Scheme, he does not qualify for a pension.
Therefore, he was desperate for funding for his business, he told Barbados TODAY.
Yet, Harding said he would gladly place his cross against Lowe’s name come the election.
“I saw him [Lowe] sometime ago and I tried to get the light on the pole [but] nothing wasn’t done. But by telling you now I hope I would get something all fixed up,” he said with a broad smile.
Asked whether he was happy with Lowe’s representation Harding replied: “I would say so. Yes, I would say so. They [Government] can only do so much, and these things take money and time.”
Over on Maloney Drive where the parliamentary representative lives, an 89-year-old constituent declared his undying love for the DLP and Lowe.
Eudalric Brathwaite, a retired mechanist/engineer, has been voting for the party since the days of late Prime Minister and National Hero Errol Barrow.
He has a street named after him – Eudalric Drive – and claims the current administration as his own.
It was no surprise, therefore, when he said Lowe was assured of his vote.
“My Government is trying their best with what they have . . . and to do anything more, as my Prime Minister said, he don’t want to go to the IMF . . . so he must know what he got in the kitty or how the condition of the country is,” Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY.
Brathwaite’s enthusiasm notwithstanding, it is the apparent exodus to undecided that will worry Lowe, who last year came under immense pressure over rubbish collection.
And there are those, like the parliamentarian’s neighbour on Maloney Drive, who said there was no way Lowe would get her vote.
Like Harding, the woman, who asked not to be identified, complained about inadequate street lighting, and charged that the Stuart administration was not looking after the welfare of Barbadians.
Farmer and businessman Harrinarine Ramossar, who has a fruit and vegetable stall along Chancery Lane Main Road, also left no doubt about his feelings for the Member of Parliament.
“He is no use,” Ramossar declared, adding that Lowe’s stewardship of the constituency was poor.
“He ain’t doing nothing for we constituency up here. He ain’t doin nutten here. Before he get in power the last ten years, he say he gine put a light there on the light pole [pointing to his home in the distance], dah never put . . . . We had to put it we self. He say he gine do the piece uh road . . . he aint do nutten.”
In Parish Land, the unemployed Cameron Brewster was adamant there must be a change of Government, while in the same area, pensioner Keith Cox, a BLP supporter since he was 14, said he would like to see the back of both Lowe and the DLP.
Two other BLP faithful who were at the same house made no secret who they would back at the next election. One of them, a middle age man who wanted to remain anonymous, was so sure the present Government, including Lowe, would lose, he was prepared to bet his life on it.
As he spoke, the other unidentified resident chimed in, “I know there is one person who ain’t getting back in . . . the Prime Minister.”