She was soundly beaten on the last three occasions she dared to take on ruling Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) nationally-proclaimed “pit bull” Dr David Estwick in St Philip West.
However, based on the current sentiments being expressed by some of those same constituents, Lynette Eastmond, who has since quit the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and recently formed her own political party, the United Progressive Party (UPP), could be in with more than a fighting chance this time around — that’s if she is not too afraid of being caught between Estwick’s violent bark and the untested political bite of the BLP’s newcomer John King.
The latter is best known nationally for his singing ability, especially in the calypso arena. However, it would seem, based on the responses given by constituents to the Pulse of the People team yesterday, that both he and Estwick will have a tough time convincing residents, who are already singing the blues, to give either of them their support this time around.
The general sense we got was that the harsh economic realities of the day were weighing heavily on the minds of this group of rural constituents, who are simply sick and tired of hearing the same old, same old tune coming from DLP and BLP politicians alike.
This is why Eastmond, a former Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development in a previous BLP Cabinet, is even a consideration at this time.
With the UPP leader yet to announce her political riding, her pathetic political record of three successive loses against Estwick in 2003, 2008 and 2013, could actually give her the edge in St Philip West on this occasion with residents currently clamouring for representational change.
With that said, Estwick, who soundly defeated Eastmond in 2013 by capturing 3,718 votes to her 2,305, thus securing a comfortable margin of victory of 1,413 votes, is certainly no walk over, even though it appears as though he has suddenly run into a stubborn and politically-debilitating headwind.
It was at Six Roads, St Philip yesterday that the team met up a woman, who asked us to refer to her only as June, as she waited to collect her granddaughter from school before heading off to Brereton.
Asked ‘who would you want to represent you at the next election?’ the woman stated point blank: “None of the two!” in reference to both the Government and the Opposition.
“To me, all of them are the same thing. I used to vote, but I am not voting this time around . . . I used to vote for the BLP,” she declared.
In Marchfield, another woman, Michelle, who also wanted to be referred on a first name basis only, echoed June’s sentiments. “None of them!” she said, adding that “we [in St Philip West] are between a rock and a hard place.
“We don’t have a choice,” she stressed.
While neither woman intends to vote in the next general election, one Marchfield resident, who wanted to be identified as “Mr Anonymous” was still interested in voting, but simply has not made up his mind on where to place his ‘X’.
“I voted for the DLP the last time, but now I am undecided,” he said.
Another Marchfield resident, Randolph, said he voted for Estwick in 2013, but this time around he is yet to make up his mind.
“I am undecided about both parties. They are all the same,” he said while expressing his general disappointment over the recent budgetary measures announced by the Freundel Stuart Government.
Ironically, this year’s budget could prove to be one of Estwick’s unpinning in the constituency, even though Estwick, who is the Minister of Water Resource Management had all but rubbished the package during last week’s Budget debate, while returning to his pet subject of debt restructuring.
In a fiery speech before the Parliament, Estwick had made it clear that Barbados would not emerge from the crippling economic crisis, “on a taxation and expenditure consolidation alone” when it was riddled with high debt.
“The problem is that . . . your debt service went from 48 per cent to 62.6 per cent, so therefore any improvement you are getting on your consolidation exercise in regard to those measures are being undermined by your growth in your debt service, short term debt and medium to long term debt, that is a fact of life,” Estwick told the House.
The frank-talking Estwick said he was prepared to “stand up” to represent the people of St Philip West, warning: “I ain’t born with nobody, I will die with myself.”
However, for all of Estwick’s fire, the package was eventually approved without amendment leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of Barbadians, including Jennifer, who was adamant that it was time for change.
“John King will get my vote. We need a change,” the former DLP supporter said. However her neighbour, who is a Government worker said: “I will vote the Dees. I was always a D.”
Over in Six Roads Development, another female resident who did not want to be identified by name, said she was not interested in voting for either of the two established parties.
In fact, her preference is for a third party candidate.
“I am not giving any of the two main parties my vote. I am rooting for a decent third party,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“I voted in previous elections for the Dees, but instinct tells me, don’t give any of the two main parties my vote,” the Six Roads resident said.
After voting for the Opposition in the last election, another woman, Mary, said she was equally fed up with the ‘Bees’ and the “Dees”.
“I am not voting. I just fed up. I voted for the Bees, but now I am confused to be honest. Both parties tell you what you want to hear and then when they get in, they do things that are irrelevant,” she said.
However, her husband Joe left no doubt where his allegiance was and what his intentions were.
“I am a Dem . . . and I sticking with Dem,” he declared.
At Six Roads Development, the team also met up with a distraught mother, who sought to blame Government for the death of her 13 year old daughter.
“I am not voting for nobody. The Government playing the fool. My daughter died at the hands of a doctor . . . . She was given the wrong medication,” she said.
“I am not interesting in any party,” she added while fighting back tears.
Her older daughter echoed those sentiments.
“Nobody . . . . I am not voting for anybody. I can only depend on God,” she said.
At Emerald Park one Government worker said the recent Budget had left him with “a bitter taste” in his mouth.
“I am not voting for none of them [DLP or BLP], he declared, adding that he would however “try a third party”.
His neighbour said quite matter-of-factly that she was not voting at all after she reportedly “got turned down by both Governments.
“I voted the Dees before,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified by name.
However, another resident, George, was prepared to give the BLP newcomer a chance.
“I can’t vote for the Dees. I will vote John King,”
said the man, who admittedly never voted for the DLP but said he was currently “suffering” under the weight of its polices and was prepared to “help put them out” of office.
As the team drove though Emerald Park the chorus of discontent got louder and louder with one ZR driver insisting that, “I am not voting again for nobody.
“Estwick is my man, but I am not voting,” he stressed.