A building contractor, a security guard and a pastor are the latest to throw their ‘caps’ in the political ring ahead of general elections due here by next year.
With the three additions, the number of candidates representing the Citizens Action Partnership (CAP) has risen to 13.
Building contractor Victor Knight is slated to go up against the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) incumbent John Boyce and the main Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) representative Ralph Thorne in the constituency of Christ Church South.
Security guard Peter Rock has taken on the mammoth task of trying to unseat Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley in the St Michael North East constituency, which she won by just under 2,000 votes in the last election, while businessman and pastor Richard Barrow will tackle the DLP incumbent Steve Blackett for the constituency of St Michael Central.
Speaking at a press conference this week at Haggatt Hall at which the announcement was made, CAP Leader Wendell Callender revealed that his party would not be contesting all of the 30 seats at stake in the next election. He explained that due to limited finances, the party would be capping off its participation at 22 candidates, in the hope of replicating the 1961 election victory by then Premier Errol Barrow, whose DLP had only contested 15 of the 24 seats at the time.
The leader of CAP, which was launched here in February as a coalition of fringe parties, said amid limited resources it would be concentrating much of its efforts in the St Michael constituencies.
“I need to say at the onset that we are not looking to run 30 candidates. It is about using your resources in an efficient manner and we don’t intend to sell ourselves to any financiers. We are not walking cap in hand begging any financiers. So, obviously, we have to be cost and time efficient. We have to know the resources we have and we have to use them appropriately,” he said.
Callender who is confident of victory, believes his party’s chances are as good as any at the polls and is promising to put an end to political victimization. He has also vowed to unite Barbadians in effort to return the country to an economic growth path.
“We have not been rushing it and we have a good number of candidates so far. We are making sure that these candidates match what we want and it is not about thinking we are going to be a law unto ourselves. We are not about victimizing, we are not about protecting one Barbados,” the CAP leader said.
“Among our values, we said we want to be willing sacrifices,” he added.
However, Callender offered little in terms of an actual plan to steer the country out of its present perilous economic situation, highlighted by the recent free fall of domestic foreign reserves which plunged to $681.1 million, or 10.3 weeks of cover at the end of last year.
Gross Government debt, which requires servicing to the tune of over $300 million annually, also remains high at 106 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, with the overall deficit said to be in the order of $537.6 million.
When asked to comment on the $542 million package of bitter fiscal medicine prescribed by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler during last week Tuesday’s Budget, the CAP leader responded saying: “We are not in a position to do anything about that, we are not in a position to set Government policy.”