Two well-known Democratic Labour Party (DLP) members have formally declared their interest in replacing Mara Thompson as the party’s representative in St John.
Following the terse announcement made by Thompson on her way into Parliament earlier this month, Barbados TODAY has been reliably informed that both DLP General Secretary George Pilgrim and former
Consul General to Toronto Leroy McClean have written the party expressing an interest in carrying its banner in the rural riding, which has been a DLP stronghold for
When contacted by Barbados TODAY neither Pilgrim nor McClean would either confirm or deny that they had thrown their hats into the proverbial ring again.
However, if successful, this would not be the first political outing by either McClean – who previously ran for the DLP in St George South in the 1991 general elections, but was defeated by Louis Tull of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in a race that was also contested by Richard Byer of the National Democratic Party – or Pilgrim, who was defeated in St Thomas by the BLP’s David Simmons in both the 1994 and 1999 general elections.
But with the St John seat considered a much safer bet, both men have sought to seize the opportunity to make a political comeback.
Party insiders say McClean, the former CEO at Barbados Investment and Development Corporation and the current executive chairman of the Barbados Agricultural Credit Trust, is no stranger to St John as he was born and raised in the rural constituency and if confirmed as candidate, would be the first “hometown boy” to represent the incumbent in the crucial seat, previously held by two DLP prime ministers.
Pilgrim is also no stranger to the political arena and is very familiar with the inner workings of the DLP machinery which, sources suggest, could ultimately work in his favour given Thompson’s decision to bow out of active political after taking over as St John representative following the death of her husband, late Prime Minister David Thompson in 2010.
Just last week, political scientist Dr George Belle had identified McClean among three possible replacements for Thompson.
However, since then neither Verla De Peiza nor Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo have expressed any such personal interest in running in the seat, which the party has held since 1958 when its founding father Errol Barrow arrived on the political scene.
Elections are constitutionally due by the middle of next year. But in order to carry the party’s banner, any likely candidate would have to go through the internal process of nomination and ratification by the various DLP organs before then.