With a general election due here within the next six weeks, a former Government minister has called on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to clear the air on two seats currently held by the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Speaking to Barbados TODAY this morning on the fringes of the launch of a youth rally organized by DLP candidate for The City Henderson Williams, Hamilton Hammie La Lashley, who is currently serving as an advisor to Williams, acknowledged that there were still question marks hanging over the traditional DLP strongholds of St John and Christ Church East, with St John incumbent Mara Thompson recently indicating that she would not seek re-election, and with Christ Church East representative Dr Denis Lowe currently hospitalized with an undisclosed illness.
“Obviously these are issues of concern to the general public and legitimately so because there is a pending election and people want to know their candidates. The people want to know who is seeking to represent them and you cannot leave it in the area of speculation.
“We have to take it beyond that realm [of speculation] and the sooner the better,” emphasized Lashley, who retired from active politics back in January 2013 after serving as a minister, first in the Owen Arthur-led Barbados Labour Party administration, followed by the then DLP Government after Arthur lost the 2008 election.
While emphasizing the need for Stuart, who is also the political leader of the incumbent party, to bring closure to these matters, Lashley said: “These matters must however be dealt with by the leadership structure of the Democratic Labour Party. They must quell a concerned and curious public and the sooner that this is done, the better it would be.”
Thompson, who is the two-time incumbent in St John, announced last month she had no interest in seeking a third term and immediately threw her support behind the party’s General Secretary George Pilgrim.
However, it is still unclear whether Pilgrim will receive the nod to carry the party’s banner for St John, with several names, including the current High Commissioner to London Guy Hewitt, former Consul General to Toronto Leroy McClean and ex-senator Andre Worrell, being mentioned as possible contenders.
In the case of Christ Church East, questions are being asked about Lowe’s fitness to contest the upcoming poll, given his health challenges.
During last Sunday’s DLP meeting at St Christopher Primary School, Lowe was noticeably absent, with the DLP’s unofficial campaign manager Robert Bobby Morris addressing the constituency branch on his behalf.
However, today Lashley warned his party that it might be “underestimating [the] sensibilities” of the Barbadian public.
“It all depends on if the party leadership sees this as an issue, but if they do, they need to act swiftly. In the case of St John, I think Barbadians are contented with the fact that St John is Democratic Labour Party territory. I believe, therefore, that the party should instinctively look to settle this area quickly and in a reasonable time before the election.
“I said before, the sooner, the better for the party to have these things settled. These things must be done at this particular time because we are counting backward expeditiously . . . . There is very limited time. To be justifiable to the people of Barbados it has be done now,” Lashley stressed. (CM)