The people of The City seem certain of one thing. When the general election is called they intend to re-elect the sitting Member of Parliament, retired Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
Yet, during a visit to the constituency by Barbados TODAY to get a feel of The Pulse of The People, the subject of discussion was not Bostic, but his political leader Mia Mottley.
In what was a clear sign that constituents were looking beyond the seat to the bigger picture of who should lead the country, the conversation easily switched from their representative to their conviction that it was time for a woman to take up the reins of power.
However, as one man sitting on the block in New Orleans told Barbados TODAY it was a question of whether Barbadians were ready for a female prime minister.
“This is the age of change. It is time for the woman,” he said, while another chimed in that he too wanted a change.
“Before, when the BLP was in power, everybody did say that they wanted change, but as it is right now it even worse.”
The constituency of The City of Bridgetown is one of 11 electoral districts in St Michael, and in 2013 it carried 6,942 registered voters.
It was in that election that Bostic defeated then incumbent Patrick Todd of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in a close contest, securing 50.3 per cent of the votes, with Todd polling 47.2 per cent. The remaining 2.5 per cent went to an independent candidate.
The DLP has already announced that businessman Henderson Williams will replace Todd as its flagbearer in the next election, due by the middle of next year.
However, it would seem someone forgot to tell the constituents, some of whom said they had no clue that Todd had been replaced.
“Who is this new candidate? I ain’t know he. I never saw him,” said a mechanic from New Orleans who gave his name as Eric.
“When election time come, nobody don’t even pass by here. Not even to ask a question,” Eric added as he continued working on a woman’s car.
The woman, who did not give her name, said little at first, but later revealed her thoughts as she apparently became more comfortable.
She spoke of hearing stories of vote buying in the last election, and insisted she could not be bought.
“I’ve heard stories of people getting phones and the little things, the iPod things, and for that day you’re happy? Then [to have to] endure nine years of ‘sufferation’? I fed up.”
The chorus of voices singing Mottley’s praise was loudest in Kensington Lodge, where a 26-year-old man known as The Footballer echoed the sentiments of his friends.
“I would go with Mia because Mia is a block person,” he said, adding Mottley was similar to late Prime Minister David Thompson in this respect.
“That is the same thing . . . how Thompson come in. Thompson was a block man too. He would more interact with the people. So, he would more know the views and concerns of we, you know? He had a better relationship wid the people.”
What mattered most for The Footballer and those around him was proper representation, not handouts.
They wanted to know that their needs were being addressed, stressing that they would be better off under a BLP administration.
One resident, who did not want to be identified, told Barbados TODAY while the urban area had the distinction of being one of the most densely populated communities on the island, the level of unemployment was distressing.
“For every house out here there are between three and five people living in them [but] only one or two of the people in them working.
“There is the Baxter’s Road mall but that is a Government thing. That is a DLP programme. I don’t wanna see that if you are saying that you are going to be doing something for us out here,” one of the men on the block stressed as he drew comparisons to what happened in Oistins every week.
“Oistins in Christ Church, people does come every Friday night and that is a community thing. The government going soon change and all of a sudden you see thing happening down here. We not ‘bout that,” he said.
A woman who gave her name only as Margaret summed it up best, saying instead of offering handouts, Government should create opportunities for constituents to provide for themselves and their families, especially with the rising cost of living.
“You see them walking ‘bout telling people things better. It ain’t better. You go in the supermarket today and you buy a bottle of cooking oil. You see it at one price today, go and come back next week and it’s a little higher. Still them say them doing. I don’t know what it is they doing. I know they doing, but not for poor people.
“Even if you got a lil’ home, you gotta pay all sorta tax, then you got your car to look after, road tax and all that. How you going [to] survive?” she questioned.