A leading political scientist is describing the replacement of three St Michael constituency candidates for the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) as no surprise, while the constituents felt the changes made little difference to how they would vote.
The DLP hierarchy last week dropped City candidate Patrick Todd for Henderson Williams, St Michael East’s Kenny Best for Nicholas Alleyne and Patrick Tannis in St Michael South East for Rodney Grant.
Former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Dr George Belle said there was reason enough to replace the three.
Belle charged that Best had “failed as a politician and he didn’t perform” in the 2013 general election, while Todd “is already on his decline” and is not respected by his own party.
However, it is the dumping of Tannis, who lost to Santia Bradshaw of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) by ten votes in the last election, which Belle saw as most interesting, stating that the DLP was banking on Grant’s association with former Member of Parliament Hamilton Lashley to bring home the seat.
“I believe that the DLP is assuming that Mr Grant will inherit the base of Hammie Lah [Lashley] . . . that Hammie Lah can deliver to Mr Grant, his supporters. Now the problem there again is loyalty,” he said, pointing to the fact that both Grant and Lashley have jumped from the DLP to the BLP and back to the DLP.
Meanwhile, some voters in The City were happy to see the back of Todd, while others expressed little interest as they declared allegiance to sitting parliamentary representative Colonel Jeffrey Bostic of the BLP.
“It [Todd’s removal] sound reasonable and good. He ain’t nuh good and he don’t help de people,” said Percy Roach, who has been living in the Emmerton/Chapman Lane area of the City for 69 years, although Jason Hurley disagreed.
“For years he did doing good,” Hurley said.
For Elston DaCosta Bowen, who has been living in the City for the past 58 years, Williams’ selection makes no difference to how he plans to vote.
“Colonel Bostic is my candidate. Whether they chose this DLP candidate or what, I voting for Jeffrey Bostic,” Bowen told Barbados TODAY.
In the Wellington Street community, some residents said they had never heard of the new City candidate. However, Williams was undaunted, telling Barbados TODAY that by being born and raised in Chapman Lane, The City, he already had the people’s acceptance.
“I have always been in The City from the time I was a boy. I used to work with my brother-in-law at a store in Baxter’s Road to the point where I now own a restaurant on Tudor Street; so I have always been there. I have a good indication of what the needs are,” Williams said yesterday at an Easter kite flying competition at the Carlton cricket grounds hosted by Member of Parliament for St Michael North West Chris Sinckler for his constituents.
Over in St Michael East, which is represented by the BLP’s Trevor Prescod, no tears were shed for Best.
“No problem with the change . . . but Best should not have started. I favour Alleyne as the next candidate 120 per cent.” said Anthony from the Ivy.
“Kenny Best should never come ‘bout here. He don’t speak to nobody,” added another man who asked to be referred to as W Desir, making it clear he would vote for the DLP.
However, another friend who was sitting in the same shop as Desir, said he would vote for Prescod.
Over on 4th Avenue, Skeetes Road, the Ivy, Trevor Devonish became the unofficial spokesman for more than half a dozen men under a tamarind tree slamming dominoes or simply standing around.
“This is Prescod territory. Prescod takes care of everybody. Dey could bring King Kong, Prescod is our man,” Devonish declared.
In the nearby constituency of St Michael South East, where Grant has replaced Tannis, Rhonda Mother Bear Holligan is an unabashed BLP supporter.
“Dey ain’t no change, ‘cause nobody can’t move me from Santia. I will remain dey ‘cause people does only say dey gine do tings and don’t do it. Santia is a woman who does try to help you in any situation that you are in,” Holligan, a Pine resident, said emphatically.
In another section of the Pine, Noel Reece welcomed Tannis’ removal. However, he was more concerned about broken promises by politicians.
“The problem I have with these politicians, right, is that they only come around when it is election time. But they got to be there to help poor people right through. They got to realize . . . tricks don’t work . . . . So if all duh coming wid tricks it ain’t going to last,” he said.
In the same household, Nicole Reece was supportive of Grant, saying he “is not a bad person, he does a lot for Pinelands Creative Workshop”, while Keisha Reece said she was leaning towards Bradshaw.
Across at 13 Stratford Hill, Pinelands, Annette Jackman initially found it difficult to choose between Grant and Bradshaw, noting that both were good people who helped the community.
“It is going to be a tough battle . . . .I don’t know who it will be,” Jackman said, before reluctantly giving Bradshaw the edge.
Meantime, Government Minister Donville Inniss, who was abroad when the changes were announced, told Barbados TODAY while he was not sure what had informed those changes, he was “quite satisfied” with them.
“I think they are three gentlemen very worthy of serving their constituency and the country. I therefore warmly welcome them. Those who ran before and feel that they have been displaced must still appreciate that the party is still bigger than anyone of us and there is room for all of us. Everybody cannot be a candidate,” Inniss said.