The ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is having a makeover of sorts as it prepares for general elections due next year, replacing three losing candidates from the 2013 general election with newcomers.
In a statement Thursday evening from General Secretary George Pilgrim, the DLP confirmed that it would field fresh faces in The City, St Michael East and St Michael South East, while suggesting that more changes could be under way.
“The Executive and the General Council of the Democratic Labour Party at their monthly meeting in the month of April met and agreed to name a number of candidates. The party is pleased to announce in phase one of our selection process, we have added three new faces to the party’s line up of candidates for the next general elections,” the statement said.
According to Pilgrim, the party had been involved in “robust analysis” over the past three years and held over 80 meetings, which resulted in Thursday’s decision to replace Patrick Todd with former Deputy Chairman of the Rural Development Commission Henderson Williams in the City; Kenneth Best with credit underwriter Nicholas Alleyne in St Michael East; and Patrick Tannis with community activist and Chief Executive Officer of Pinelands Creative Workshop Rodney Grant in the St Michael South East constituency.
Among the three, it is Grant’s selection that is expected to generate most of the chatter, as he is replacing a man who narrowly lost to the BLP’s Santia Bradshaw by ten votes in the 2013 election, and who had remained the DLP’s caretaker in the constituency.
Barbados TODAY had reported in February last year that Grant would seek the nomination, much to the surprise of officials of both major parties.
Having previously been actively involved with the DLP, he had switched allegiance to the BLP and had chaired one of the Opposition party’s town hall meetings just two weeks earlier.
Tannis had refused to comment at the time, but a member of the executive committee of the branch had told Barbados TODAY he was confident Grant would be outvoted when the branch chose the candidate.
However, the DLP hierarchy Friday bypassed that process by selecting the community activist.
Just as he did last year, Tannis would not comment Thursday, while neither Best nor Todd, Alleyne or Williams could be reached.
But an accessible Grant told Barbados TODAY he was ready to represent the constituency.
“I am happy that I have gotten the opportunity to represent the people of St Michael South East at this level. It is something that I have done for most of my life. I spent my life representing the people of Pinelands all of my life. I have been given the opportunity to extend my representation beyond Pinelands,” the candidate said, adding he would be out canvassing and listening to people’s concerns and problems.
“I will not take anything for granted because politics is a strange game. Unofficially, I have been around for a long time. The issues are present issues, therefore, I think that it is important to put forward a clear vision for the constituency.”
In the 2013 general election the BLP’s Colonel Jeffrey Bostic polled 2,012 votes to Todd’s 1,888 in The City; Trevor Prescod of the BLP unseated Best, polling 2,452 votes to Best’s 2,333, while Santia Bradahaw recaptured the St Michael South East seat for the BLP, after it was vacated by Hamilton Lashley, who had won it for the party in 2008, before crossing the floor to join the governing DLP.