Don’t count the United Progressive Party (UPP) out of the next elections.
With both the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the main Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) expressing strong confidence of victory, the UPP has sounded the warning that neither party is likely to walk away with a clear mandate at the polls, which are constitutionally due by the middle of next year.
“It will be a coalition Government,” declared the UPP’s David Gill, in predicting the outcome of the next election.
The former Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) stalwart who quit the party earlier this year and joined the UPP after losing his bid to represent the BLP for the fifth time at the polls, said this position was borne out in a recent public opinion poll conducted by political scientist Peter Wickham which showed that several young people neither favoured the DLP nor the BLP.
“Gone are those days where you say, ‘if you are going to eat in at me you’ve got to vote B or D’ . . . .Those days are long gone. You cannot tell a young person how to think,” he said.
However, Gill is not ruling out the possibility of the UPP scoring an upset victory.
In fact, the veteran politician reminded that “in 1961, in this Barbados, when Errol Barrow won he didn’t have a full slate of candidates, but he won the Government.
“It was new way thinking, revolutionary, just like the UPP. There were the older head, there were the younger heads, independents, Bees and they all shared the Parliament.
“So, if 56 years after, we have gone full circle and Barbados is ready for what was seen back then,” Gill said, while insisting that “it will be three horses in this race.
“This is a ‘win and place parlay’ and only with a win and place can you get a coalition Government,” Gill told the small UPP gathering at Edgecliff last weekend in support of area representative Hudson Griffith, who is also a former BLP candidate.
Griffith, who was soundly defeated by the DLP’s Mara Thompson on his last two political outings in St John, is hoping that his third time will be a charm. He had previously contested the 2008 by-election and the 2013 general election on a BLP ticket and lost before he was ditched as that party’s representative.
“I want to encourage the [BLP] family in St John . . . you have not won the seat since 1958. Why are you going to continue to go with the Barbados Labour Party again in a seat that you are not going to win, because Hudson Griffith was in the mix?
Echoing much of Gill’s sentiment, Hutson also pointed out that “in 1961, Errol Barrow did exactly what we are doing now. You had the Barbados Labour Party led by Cummins, the Barbados National Party led by Ernest Deighton Mottley and Errol Barrow at the time said I can do better, Barbados is at the cross roads for a change and I want to go it alone with my people”.
Griffith noted that in that election, the BLP had fielded 22 candidates while the National Party ran eight.
“Errol Barrow, the Democratic Labour Party at the time ran 16 candidates. Ladies and gentlemen, the rest is history because Errol Barrow won the seat in St John and the Government of Barbados with 14 seats . . . . We are at the same cross roads tonight.”