One day after one of the country’s newest political movements, Solutions Barbados, launched nine neophytes to contest the general election due next year, a coalition of fringe parties named a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) reject as its first candidate.
The recently formed Citizens’ Action Partnership (CAP) yesterday said it would soon launch former Member of Parliament for St Michael South Central David Gill as a candidate, with more to follow thereafter.
“Very shortly we will be having the official launch of one of our candidates in an outdoor setting . . . . He will be [David] Gill who formerly represented the BLP in the St Michael South Central constituency. So far CAP has 15 of the candidates and we are in the process of interviewing other prospective candidates,” CAP Chairman Wendell Callender told Barbados TODAY.
Gill, who will challenge incumbent Richard Sealy of the governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP), won the seat back in 1999 for the BLP, but lost to Sealy in the three successive national elections since. He suffered a smarting loss last October to newcomer Marsha Caddle in the nomination contest, a sting which still hurts today.
The BLP reject told Barbados Today he had an “excellent chance” of capping the campaign by winning the seat for his new party.
“I have an excellent chance of winning based on what I have been hearing from the people. Wherever I go people are telling me they were finished with this voting thing, but since they heard that I was running again they will be voting again. They are saying I got unfaired, ‘they did not treat you right. We are tired of the Bees and the Dees’. Sealy ran away from the people for four years and they have not seen him. ‘We do not know the young lady that [BLP leader] Mia Mottley and [BLP Member of Parliament for St Michael East ] Trevor Prescod brought to replace you,’” he said.
When Callender, a former BLP parliamentarian, launched CAP last month, he issued an open invitation to the increasing number of fringe parties to join his coalition.
Since the start of 2017, the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) and the United Progressive Party (UPP) have added to the list of outliers seeking to challenge the traditional two-party framework of the DLP) and the Opposition BLP.
Both new parties comprise disgruntled BLP members, some of whom have been dismissed repeatedly by voters.
Callender said the new parties were expected to join the movement, which is focusing on facilitating the joint promotion of candidates from parties not represented in Parliament, as well as independents.
“It is a work in progress. Officials of the Barbados Integrity Movement are speaking with us. If the other party’s candidate appears to be better than ours, our candidate will be accommodated in another constituency,” he told Barbados TODAY.
The little-known New Barbados Kingdom Alliance, whose leader Lynroy Scantlebury contested the St Peter seat in 2013, and the Mark Adamson-led People’s Democratic Congress have already committed to CAP.
However, Solutions Barbados, which has insisted that only successful business leaders were welcomed in the party, appears to be pressing ahead on its own, on Wednesday naming a group of nine unknown individuals, including a juice maker, a hairdresser, a building contractor and the owner of a photography business, on its ticket. A tenth person, who had apparently committed, had cold feet and withdrew at the last minute, leader Grenville Phillips 11 said.
Political Scientist Dr George Belle said Phillips “shows a lack of understanding of what politics is all about”, while describing Gill as “a failed politician who refuses to accept the fact”.
So far the UPP, headed by former BLP Cabinet member Lynette Eastmond, has named one candidate – investment manager Craig Harewood – who will challenge the BLP’s Dwight Sutherland in St George South, while BIM is yet to name a single candidate.
Neither Eastmond nor BIM leader Neil Holder could be reached for comment on the status of their fledgling political organizations.