The man who will seek to wrest St Michael South East from the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in the next general election has taken his first shot at the sitting Member of Parliament Santia Bradshaw, suggesting she did not have to work hard for the seat.
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate Rodney Grant avoided referring to the BLP by name as he delivered his maiden speech yesterday at the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School auditorium.
However, the same could not be said for his treatment of Bradshaw, with whom he sat at the same table and broke bread as recently as last year, when he was a campaigner for the Opposition party against the very DLP which has now recruited him.
Addressing cheering supporters and fellow candidates, which included Cabinet members Steve Blackett, Ronald Jones and Richard Sealy, Grant said that unlike Bradshaw, whose father Delisle Bradshaw was also the BLP representative for the area, no one had handed him the seat.
“I don’t have any godfather like my opponent, to hand me over a baton. I don’t have a father to hand me a political baton like if it belongs to me,” the pretender told the audience.
“You have to work for it. It is not a hand-me-down kinda thing. Representing people is not a hand-me-down thing,” he added, having delighted supporters by singing, “I’m only one call away. I’m here to save the day. Santia has got nothing on me. I’m only one call away, they got to deal with it”, to the tune of Charlie Puth’s One Call Away.
The community activist had left the BLP scratching its head in disbelief in February last year when it was reported that he would seek to replace banker Patrick Tannis as the DLP candidate to challenge Bradshaw.
BLP parliamentarians were scrambling to find an explanation, telling Barbados TODAY at the time that Grant had been actively engaged in the business of the party only two weeks earlier.
Grant is a close friend of former Minister of Social Transformation Hamilton Lashley, both of whom had been intimately involved with the DLP before switching allegiance to the then governing BLP. Lashley had later jumped back to the DLP after it won the 2008 election.
The now-confirmed DLP candidate had sought to explain his decision, referring at the time to Lashley’s many political jumps.
In any event he had said, it was time “to move away from this partisan type of politics” and concentrate on providing good representation.
During yesterday’s speech, he appeared to offer his clearest explanation yet, suggesting to DLP supporters he was not prepared to wait much longer to help constituents meet their needs.
“There are so many needs and so many things that we have to do to fix . . . . We can’t wait. We worked out the maths. Four years. So if election [is] next year that is a few months, the other side they can’t get in so that means another five years.
“So we can’t wait five years to fix wunna problems though . . . . Right now is the time to deal with the issue,” he said.
The founding member and chief executive officer of Pinelands Creative Workshop also promised to remain firmly grounded to his roots.
“Rodney Grant today is Rodney Grant tomorrow ‘cause I know where I am grounded. I know where I am rooted, and my circumstances that I would have come up in as a boy have determined that I would remain rooted. My roots are so firm.
“I have to remain grounded in who I am. This is what has grounded me all my life, and this is what will continue to guide me as I got forward,” he said to much applause.
He sought to make clear that this step into national politics was carefully considered, saying that he wanted to be prepared “to undertake the task to represent the people”.