Two of this island’s leading political scientists have dismissed out of hand last weekend’s announcement by the umbrella Citizens Action Partnership (CAP) that it was subsuming itself into the Lynette Eastmond-led United Progressive Party (UPP).
In fact, while agreeing with Dr George Belle that the two parties were simply “skylarking”, pollster Peter Wickham said that like his former University of the West Indies colleague he was not about to waste his breath offering any serious analysis of the development.
“I am not taking them seriously and I am comfortable with George Belle’s analysis that they are skylarking. So my thing is if you are going to skylark, go ahead. I am not going to encourage [them] by giving serious analysis to what they are doing,” Wickham said in support of Belle’s position on the matter.
However, following Saturday‘s announcement by leader Wendell Callender that CAP, which was launched back in February as a coalition of fringe parties, had “unanimously agreed” to cease operations to facilitate the full integration of its candidates into the UPP, Eastmond has also confirmed the development, which she said has forced her party, which was also launched ten months ago, to take another look at its slate of candidates.
“If CAP ceases to exist, it means that the candidates of CAP are coming to run with the UPP. But then we have to go through the process to see who the candidates are. We don’t know them. Our candidates are up on our website, but we don’t know who their candidates are. So then you would have to go through that process. So we are going through the process to determine where former CAP candidates would be placed,” she said with her party having declared 15 political candidates.
Earlier this year, CAP had announced 13 confirmed candidates with Callender revealing that it would not be contesting all 30 seats at stake in the next election. He explained at the time that due to limited finances, the party would be capping off its participation at 22 candidates, in the hope of replicating the 1961 election victory by then Premier Errol Barrow, whose Democratic Labour Party (DLP) had only contested 15 of the 24 seats at the time.
However, that position now seems to be out of the window, as the Mark Adamson-led People’s Democratic Congress (PDC) is said to be not interested in participating in the UPP-CAP accommodation. The PDC, along with the Lynroy Scantlebury-led New Barbados Kingdom Alliance had earlier committed to CAP.
Today, the leader of the Barbados Integrity Movement could not be reached for comment on the development, but when contacted the leader of the island’s fifth fringe party, Grenville Phillips, also rejected the idea.
“We won’t be considering merging with anyone [who is] planning to go to the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and to our knowledge, everyone plans to go but us. We are the only party with a non-austerity plan,” Phillips, who is the leader of Solutions Barbados, told Barbados TODAY.
However, with general elections constitutionally due by the middle of next year, pundits are suggesting that none of the five little-known political parties stand a chance of winning.
They are therefore predicting a straight fight between the incumbent DLP of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the Mia Mottley-led main Opposition Barbados Labour Party, even though Callender has expressed confidence that the combined CAP/UPP team, under Eastmond’s leadership, will impact positively on the poll results.