After casting out what little pearls he had before “swine”, prodigal son Patrick Tannis last night declared that he was back home to help the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) secure the next Government.
The ordained minister said as much last night, as he willingly took up membership in the Opposition party, after contesting the last election on a ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) ticket.
“I had to go and spend what little I had with swine. However, after seeing my political father, DeLisle Bradshaw, I came back home and a feast was prepared for me,” said Tannis, in an obvious reference to the biblical story of the prodigal son, who left in search of greener pastures but wasted all of his talents only to return home shamefully to ask for his father’s forgiveness.
Last night, there was no shame evident on Tannis’ face, only smiles of contentment as he was greeted with open arms by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley and other key BLP officials.
Before a large crowd of St Michael South East supporters at the Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School, Tannis, who was bedecked in red, filled out the party’s registration form to become the BLP’s newest member, before delivering a speech that was punctuated with some nasty jabs at the ruling DLP.
Earlier this year, the ordained pastor was replaced by community advocate Rodney Grant as the DLP’s representative for the urban riding, and a seemingly bitter Tannis had done little since then to hide his obvious dissatisfaction with how the entire candidacy matter was handled.
In fact, Tannis had earlier complained about getting the news via the media; therefore it came as no surprise last week when he declared in a Facebook post that he would be turning his back on the incumbent DLP and joining the BLP.
In his first public appearance with the Opposition, Tannis also revealed that Florida pastor Randy Coggins had prophesized that the next prime minister of Barbados would be a female, namely Mia Amor Mottley — a prediction which he said influenced his decision to join the Opposition at this time.
“God told me on Friday morning to make it known with immediate effect that I must join openly this party and I put it on Facebook in the morning,” the former banker explained.
However, it appears that his will be a supportive role in the lead up to the next election with the BLP having already confirmed its slate of candidates for the upcoming poll, including St Michael South East incumbent Santia Bradshaw, who narrowly defeated Tannis in the 2013 poll by a mere ten votes.
Bradshaw was among those who warmly welcomed Tannis into the BLP fold on Sunday night. In fact, she stood proudly in his defence, while accusing the governing DLP of failing to give her former political opponent his dues.
“This man was wronged because any individual who can come as close to me as he did in the last campaign should have either be in the Senate or placed in some consultancy position,” Bradshaw argued.
“I believe he should have served in some capacity after coming so close,” she added, while also accusing Government of ignoring the plight of residents in St Michael South East.
However, with countdown to elections already seemingly on, Bradshaw also made it clear that she was not about to go down in the gutter with anyone, following last week’s declaration by DLP stalwart Derek Alleyne that the mother of all political battles was to come and that the electorate was about to be told “who is sleeping with whom”.
“I don’t care if they want to go in the gutter with this election, we are going to keep this election about the issues,” Bradshaw told the gathering that included BLP St Michael South candidate Kirk Humphrey and former St James Central representative Liz Thompson.
However, while she highlighted public housing and acquisition of title deeds among her primary concerns, Mottley suggested that poverty on a whole needed to be addressed.
And with the island suffering from its 20th downgrade by international credit ratings agency Standard and Poor’s, the Opposition Leader assured party supporters that the BLP was focused on restoring prosperity and growth to the island.
“We cannot have this continued patronizing attitude that keeps poor people poor and is intended to keep people down pressed in this country,” Mottley said.
“We will work with people wherever you are because we recognize that what this country faces is too grim and too large,”