There is no doubt in the eyes of some St Michael South Central residents that the Member of Parliament Richard Sealy is in with a chance of retaining the seat for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) come next election.
However, there is sufficient scepticism for the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate Marsha Caddle to feel confident she can wrest the seat that Sealy has held for 14 years and in which he defeated the then BLP candidate David Gill by 2,231votes to 1,967 in 2013.
Stung by Government’s austerity measures, particularly the much hated National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), many voters were either uncertain, or were prepared to switch to the BLP to punish their representative.
And there are those like the woman from McClean’s Gap, whose gripe was that she had not seen Sealy in years.
“I ain’t see he [Sealy] since the last election . . . the day after,” the woman, who requested anonymity, told Barbados TODAY during a Pulse of the People tour Thursday.
“I haven’t made up my mind [who will get my vote],” the elderly woman stressed.
Her neighbour, who also preferred to remain anonymous, was more philosophical.
“Yes, I agree that we should vote and I will vote. But before I do that I does say, ‘Lord, lead me in the right path’, because when all is said and done, we still have to get back to Him, He is the main point. We could talk ’til the cows come home, we need Christ right now,” said the woman who supported Sealy in the last election.
However, there was enthusiastic support for Sealy and the DLP from a man who wanted to be referred to as MB.
Dressed formally, he did not hesitate to guarantee the current representative his vote.
“I support the Government, recognizing the challenges the country is facing right now. They are doing what’s necessary. They are also being sympathetic to the Government workers. When you look at all the recommendations from the various quarters, they could easily take the position and send home workers. They are not doing that,” said the man in his 40s, who declined to disclose his profession.
In another section of McClean’s Gap, Ronald and Cecilia Powlett were relaxing in their verandah when Barbados TODAY engaged them.
The husband said that politicians, especially the current Government ministers were so distrusting and unreliable, that it was now difficult to determine who he wanted to vote for.
“To tell the truth, the way how things going; this up and down thing with these here [Government], you ain’t sure who you want represent you anymore. I would prefer you [this reporter] come and represent me,” Ronald said with a sense of sarcasm.
“You just don’t know who gine deal with [the economic and social problems]. Most of the youngsters that I talk to on the same wave length . . . they really ain’t know. It getting so bad with politics now that people prefer to sell their vote than anything else. That is what it is coming down to now. The Government coming with so much tricks now they got the people head tangle up,” the resident who supported Sealy at the last poll declared, adding that he might even now consider giving his vote to whoever brought the most money.
His wife, who also voted for Sealy previously, was uncertain who to support come polling day.
“Question mark,” she said, “question mark.
“I don’t know. How everything is . . . everybody say this and say that until they get in [office] and everything change,” the disgruntled constituent said.
There were mixed messages at Scotts Gap, where a woman who spoke on condition of anonymity, was sure the constituency was Sealy’s to lose.
Nevertheless, she made it clear she had no intention of voting for the DLP.
“This is Democratic Labour Party constituency . . . there is going to be a fight. Once the Bees won this seat . . . I hope it change this time,” the retiree said.
Her daughter, a small businesswoman who operates a nail studio from home, was vocal about where her support lay and the impact the NSRL has been having on her pocket.
“As a small business, this tax has really hit me hard. Honestly, I am very tired and frustrated with this Government . . . it’s time for a change. I can’t take it anymore,” said an emotional Maria Waithe, owner of Maria’s Nail Studio.
Jim Taylor was sitting outside a shop in Scotts Gap with friends, clearly at odds with his colleagues.
The senior citizen is a Sealy supporter, unlike the men with whom he was sharing his time.
“I voting [DLP]. You is a joke,” Taylor told his friend Kyle Harding who was sitting nearby insisting that the BLP was the way
“It is best to keep the same party in power . . . the Dees again,” Taylor continued as the two men exchanged a few verbal jabs.
Taylor’s sparring partner revealed the two were once in the same corner, but not anymore.
“I was a DLP . . . I changing to BLP,” Harding said.
As the visit advanced further along Scotts Gap, another Sealy supporter emerged. “Richard Sealy!” Louisanne Squires, a die-hard DLP loyalist exclaimed.
But there was uncertainty among two other residents who said they had become disenchanted with the Stuart Government and could not make up their minds which way to vote.
At Valerie, where Government has constructed a number of high-rise housing units, there was much cynicism.
A group of young women hanging out under a shed reflected the general viewpoint.
“Ah ain’t supporting nobody,” blurted out one young woman in an expletive-laden outbreak about her inability to get a job.
“I did gine tell he so right now,” chimed in her friend.
“Nobody ain’t supporting me, so I aint supporting nobody,” added a third.
On the block a stone’s throw away, close to a dozen young men and women were engaged in various activities, including a game of dominoes.
It was not long before the subject of parliamentary representation was brought up in a loud exchange among at least four of them, none of whom wanted their identities revealed.
“I would want somebody [to represent me] who can help me, whoever that is. I don’t know if she [Caddle] has the resources to beat Sealy,” one man said.
“I looking for change in Government and governance,” added a second man.
“You need to deal with the Bajans and scrap the bipartisanship. The bipartisanship is what is causing gangs. That is what is killing we. We bringing in too many Guyanese to work and leaving out Bajans,” stated a third.
Still at least one of the men, an older resident who arrived later, stood in defence of the parliamentary representative.
His voice was at times drowned out by the others.
“We can’t put Mia [Mottley] in, she will legalize [homosexuality] and same-sex marriages. Stick with the DLP. The BLP was never for the masses,” the expressive constituent concluded.