Former Barbados and West Indies Under-19 cricket captain Dave Cumberbatch came out swiping last night as he delivered his maiden speech as the ruling Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) candidate for St Peter.
Cumberbatch, 53, made his name as a cricketer in the early 1980s. Now he is seeking to deny the Opposition Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) Colin Jordan a chance of ever representing the northern constituency, currently held by former BLP leader and independent Member of Parliament Owen Arthur.
With Arthur’s political future still uncertain, Cumberbatch told DLP faithful gathered at The Alexandra School last night that both the current and the former administration were guilty of neglecting the rural constituency, particularly Maynards, his place of birth.
Cumberbatch, an attorney-at-law and former policemen, recalled that in 1999 “when elections were hot in the air” the National Housing Corporation, under a BLP government, had sent letters in the St Peter community offering residents the opportunity to purchase their lands.
“2009 came and nothing was done [by the time the BLP was voted out of office],” he said, while also complaining that the situation still had not been remedied with the DLP in office over past ten years.
“The point I am making is that, up to this day, 2017, after receiving letters in 1999, nothing has been done to sell the people of Maynards the land on which they live,” Cumberbatch said, adding that “I had a quiet whisper with Minister [Denis] Kellman about this already . . . [and] if he remains the minister of housing in the next administration . . . I will be turning up my voice . . . even if it is the prime minister that takes over the Ministry of Housing, I will be turning up my voice, so that those people in Maynards who were asked in 1999 if they wanted to purchase land, . . . [can] be successful in owning a piece of the rock”.
In response, Kellman informed the meeting that though some people had gone ahead and paid the BLP for their lots, currently residents in 28 of the 55 Government units at Maynards were qualified to be granted property conveyances under the 20-year occupancy programme. However, he did not say if or when they would the conveyances.