It would seem that Member of Parliament for Christ Church South John Boyce will have a tough time pulling from his side the ‘thorne’ that will be his opponent in the upcoming general election.
Boyce had beaten the Opposition Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) Dr Jerome Walcott by a comfortable 601 votes in the 2013 election, polling 2,663 votes to 2,062 by Dr Walcott.
However, with voters increasingly becoming overburdened by taxes imposed by the governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP), and many saying they simply cannot see their way out of the tough times, many of those
who voted for Boyce last time round are planning to withhold their support come next polling day, a Pulse of the People random survey has found.
And while there were no clear signs that they were rushing in droves to first-time candidate Ralph Thorne of the BLP, what is evident is that the Opposition party is not losing any of its support.
“I voted for Boyce last time, but never again,” said one constituent in Oistins, Barbados TODAY’s first stop on the visit to the constituency.
That voter expressed in the clearest of terms what many of Boyce’s supporters in Oistins telegraphed, most of whom simply said they intended to stay home on election day.
“It doesn’t matter who represents me. I ain’t pon no side,” said a man who wanted to remain anonymous.
“They never did anything for me.”
At Dicia’s Beer Garden & Grill, one man also did not want to be named, was relaxing with his friends.
He had been a long-time DLP voter, but vowed never to cast his ballot for the party again, meaning one more vote lost for Boyce.
“[There is] no difference, whether Bee or Dee . . . the same thing,” he said.
Over at Scarborough Juetta Prescod did not hesitate to declare her hand.
“Ralph Thorne,” Prescod exclaimed, convinced that a vote for the senior attorney-at-law would improve her social and economic situation.
“I feel I would get something do better out here,” said the 70-year-old former fish cleaner.
Her neighbour Ralph Layne was also rooting for the newcomer, a prominent defence lawyer and Queen’s Counsel.
“Ralph Thorne [because] . . . I think he is a good man,” Layne stated, noting that he always supported the BLP.
Another Scarborough resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, was not certain where her vote would go.
“To be honest, I can’t say right now. So much things happening right now . . . I got to [carefully consider] first before [deciding] who I would like, or who I won’t like to be honest with you. So I don’t know who I want to represent me or who I don’t want to represent,” the Christ Church South constituent emphasized.
Amid the lack of enthusiasm for the current Member of Parliament, a worrying theme also emerged – that of a number of people, including a self-employed youth who did not want to be identified, prepared to trade their votes for money.
“I backing everybody, cause I want money from all though. Everybody, I backing,” he said.
And he was not alone. Another voter, who was part of a group of young men was unabashed about his willingness to peddle his vote.
“Who pay me the most [I voting for],” proclaimed the man who was engaged in house repairs.
Another youngster on the same block put the issue of the sale of votes in perspective.
“Everybody want money. Money run the world and you know dah. Money does mek people do some of the worse stupidest things and then you does got to pay the consequences, you understand?”
Yet another young man joined in the conversation, suggesting that as struggling self-employed people they could not drive around in big luxury vehicles like politicians do and they had no intention of ever voting.
Another man who was with him had no interest in who was responsible for looking after his interest in the constituency.
“I really don’t care who represent me, cause I still got to look for what I want myself,” he pointed out.
On leaving Scarborough, Barbados TODAY journeyed to Pegwell where disenchanted DLP supporter Alwin Taylor did not hesitate to share his feelings about his representative.
“To be honest, I is a Dee, but . . . they got some people that does come from the Barbados Labour Party come and shout me asking me this and asking that. I tell them, ‘listen, you see next year, I ain’t voting for nobody because if you putting in people and them telling you one thing and then doing another thing . . . I can’t understand that,’” said Taylor, who was visiting his friend John, a physically disabled constituent and avid supporter of the Opposition BLP.
“The Government ain’t saying nutten . . . . Right now I think there is need for a change,” John said.
Angela Ward was plaiting a man’s hair in her verandah when we approached her in Pegwell. Ward’s response was unequivocal when we asked whom she planned to for in the next election.
“The Barbados Labour Party . . . Ralph Thorne,” she all but shouted.
“That is the only party I ever voted for, and that is the one I will continue to vote for,” the unapologetic BLP faithful insisted.
Home helper Esther Cumberbatch is a praying woman who believes Barbados will get back on its feet.
Still, unlike wheelchair bound Denise Wiltshire, she remained undecided.
Wiltshire made it clear she would follow what she believed was wise counsel many years ago from her now dead aunt.
“My great aunt dead and tell me . . . ‘Denise, never leff out the Barbados Labour Party’. I in my 80s now and I do what she said,” Wiltshire told Barbados TODAY.
Our final stop was Enterprise where more undecided voters emerged. A woman, who preferred to be referred to as Sobers said she simply did not know who would get her vote.
“I have not made up my mind,” she said, noting that it was a hard thing to do right now considering the amount of taxes imposed on the population.
There was also a man, dressed in his cycle shorts, who wanted to be called Spoiler 360.
He contended the country had hit rock bottom and it was time to go in a different direction.
“I don’t think it could get any worse than that. [Change] is long overdue,” he said.