A local youth activist today warned that the City of Bridgetown seat was not up for sale, while publicly disagreeing with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s recent suggestion that “if money starts sharing around, try and get some”.
The Prime Minister had made the suggestion at Mile And A Quarter, St Peter last month while addressing the opening of the campaign office for Dave Chief Cumberbatch, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate for the seat.
Stuart had said at the time at least one political party, but not the DLP, was underestimating “the intelligence of ordinary people” by offering them cash for votes.
With this in mind, the Prime Minister, who has spoken strongly against vote buying, advised those who had been approached to “get some” of the money.
“I have made it very clear to the people [in my constituency] of St Michael South and I am making it very clear to the people of Barbados – I say this unapologetically – if money starts sharing around try and get some. Do not get it by illegal means, but if money is sharing around, get some. Because this kind of political cynicism that is manifested in Barbados has to be confronted, but that is not another way of saying that if they want to be cynical you cannot show that you are more cynical than they are. So if they sharing out money, take some,” he said then.
However, without making any reference to the Prime Minister’s comments, Diamond Allman, one of the youth coordinators for the DLP’s City candidate Henderson Williams, today described vote buying as an insult to the electorate.
“Some persons are still saying, ‘if money sharing I going’, but that is not the way,” Allman said, while explaining that the most pressing need for young people in The City right now was jobs “or at least someone to help us to better ourselves through educational programmes or something like that.
“I think a lot of the young people have woken up and they realize that a job is a sure thing and you can uplift yourself. When you take these people’s money, you don’t see them again for another five years,” she stressed.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of the launch of a youth rally at Williams’ constituency office at Evelyn Layne, Bayland, St Michael, Allman contended that persons who accepted cash for their votes, regardless of whether or not they intended to be swayed by the money, were diminishing the real causes that needed urgent attention.
The youth activist argued that this was one of the reasons that young people had become disenchanted with the electoral process.
“A lot of young people don’t vote because they keep getting promises that people can’t keep. They promise to give jobs or money but we don’t want money. We are independent people who want to go out and work. We are strong, educated people and we are not hand-to-mouth. So people coming with bribery and money to get votes is just not the way,” she stressed.
Williams is due to come up against City incumbent Jeffrey Bostic of the Barbados Labour Party in the upcoming election in which United Progressive Party leader Lynette Eastmond and retired prostitute Natalie Natlee Harewood are also likely contenders.
The Prime Minister is yet to announce the date for the poll, which is due in less than two months’ time.