Political Scientist Peter Wickham is calling on Member of Parliament for St John Mara Thompson to clearly state whether or not she intends to contest the next general election, constitutionally due by the middle of next year.
Noting that rumours continue to swirl around the candidacy of the widow of late Prime Minister David Thompson, coupled with the fact that the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has yet to name its full slate of candidates, Wickham argued that Thompson owes it to the people of St John not to leave them hanging.
Earlier today Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley took to social media to deny that he was the author of a letter to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, expressing an interest representing the DLP in St John.
Lashley said the letter was fake, and an attempt by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party to smear him.
However, Wickham told Barbados TODAY the authenticity of the letter had little to do with the burning issue.
“To me the news is not whether or not Minister Lashley is interested. If he is denying that the letter is real then that is neither here nor there to me, but the real issue is whether or not Mara Thompson is running. It was fascinating that yesterday she took a podium at a function in St John and spoke of a level of integrity that is needed and the question as to whether or not she is running at this stage is also relevant to that topic,” Wickham said in reference to a statement by the St John parliamentary representative at the annual David Thompson Memorial Service at St Margaret’s Anglican Church that she had no interest in gutter politics.
“We have a right to know as a public whether or not Mara Thompson is running again and I don’t know how we could let go of that in the public domain. We are looking at a general election that is due by the very latest May next year and I think that the people of St John have a right to know whether or not she is running again,” he insisted, going on to say that a statement from either Thompson or the party’s leadership would put rest any notion of an internal scramble for the DLP stronghold.
It was last week that Wickham told Barbados TODAY that the DLP could count on four safe seats in the election, one of which is St John. However, he said at the time that if there were any truth to reports that Thompson would no longer contest election, the seat could become vulnerable.
The Caribbean Development Research Services pollster is also contending that the ruling party is displaying a certain degree of arrogance by failing to name candidates in a number of constituencies.
“There is the St Peter seat, the St Michael North seat and so many other places that the Democratic Labour Party has not named candidates. One can argues that they still have time before election is called because, after all, they have to set the date and they would make sure that they are ready before the election is called.
“They seem pretty confident of winning, so for them these things are not urgent. But for a sitting Member of Parliament there is a greater import, especially in an area as critical as St John. The level of unpreparedness on the part of this Government is fascinating, but I guess it is all part of communicating that things are looking good for them and that they have the election sewn up,” Wickham said.