It is rather unusual for any individual voter to favour candidates of both major political parties in any one election.
However, Barbados TODAY has discovered through a random survey this week of the Pulse of the People that St George South is different altogether.
Several constituents said they were happy with both the incumbent, Dwight Sutherland of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), and his immediate predecessor Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo of the governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP), both of whom are products of the constituency.
And, in an ideal world, they both would emerge victorious, according to one Ellerton elector.
“I don’t know who boy, you sight? All two good to me . . . I wish I could put in all two. If I could put in all two I would put in all two ‘cause I know all two gine help me,” the 35-year-old cook, who gave his name as Rastaman, said.
It was the same with Mark Rollins, a 50-year-old mechanic who was agonizing over two lovers of sorts.
“I voted for all two of them . . . I like all two,” Rollins said.
When Barbados TODAY spoke with the man who called himself Rastaman, he was hanging out with friends at a shop in Ellerton, including 41-year-old painter Adrian Brathwaite.
“Dwight is a better man. Dwight does be here [in the shop], you don’t see Esther,” Brathwaite contended, before he was challenged by Rastaman.
“You ain’t gine see Esther, but Esther does still be behind the scenes . . . wid the footballers, wid de youths . . . she does deal with nuff things.”
There was a similar exchange between 71-year-old retired Queen Elizabeth Hospital orderly Cecil Rimple, whose support was for “my man” Sutherland, who he said was “a man born between here, a man for the people and a man wid de people”, and 62-year-old carpenter Harold Sealy, who preferred Byer-Suckoo.
Unlike many of her fellow DLP candidates, Byer-Suckoo appears not to have been seriously hurt by the performance of the economy, and the DLP’s record low level of public support.
However, Sutherland has history and a comfortable win over the doctor in the last election on his side.
Since the seat was created in 1971, the DLP has won the seat on three occasions, in 1971, 1986 and 2008, and on each occasion the party’s reign in the constituency lasted all of one term.
Byer-Suckoo was the last of the three, defeating the BLP’s Ian Gill by 3,446 votes to 2,509.
However, Sutherland reversed those numbers five years later, taking the seat from Byer-Suckoo by a score of 3,642 to 2,965votes.
“Dwight Sutherland . . . has the common touch,” a retired office worker told Barbados TODAY, explaining that the BLP representative was unpretentious and “ordinary”.
The split loyalties were equally obvious in communities such as Green’s where voters like Alex Hunte, an unemployed laundromat worker who supported Byer-Suckoo in the last two general elections, have a difficult time deciding between the two candidates.
“I am not sure right now,” Hunte said.
Still, be it at Ellerton or at Green’s, both Sutherland and Byer-Suckoo had their defiant supporters who were not willing to trade either of the two.
For example, 61-one -year-old butcher Trevor Lowe is an unashamed DLP backer who will vote for the party’s candidate.
“[I’m voting] Suckoo [because] I is a DLP,” he said, while a 57-year-old nurse, who also did not want to be identified said “[Sutherland] is the only one that trying”.
The strong support that the two candidates enjoy could suggest a close contest for the seat, meaning the Solutions Barbados candidate Andrew Banfield could play the spoiler.
Banfield had good support, particularly in Frenches, when the majority of people who spoke to Barbados TODAY announced their desire to vote for the fledgling party’s nominee.
They included 73-year-old former police sergeant Michael Perryman, 55-year-old housewife Antonio Alexander, 28-year-old caregiver Anthony Waithe and his 30-year-old brother Andre Waithe, who is preparing to enter the private security business, as well as one constituent who preferred to remain anonymous.
“I going with somebody new. I trying something new to see if things [would improve]. Well, not really in the country, but in St George South. None of them [BLP and DLP] none of them ain’t do nothing,” claimed the 63-year-old former manufacturing company supervisor who was outfitted with gloves, boots, overalls and shovel in hands as he worked around his house.