Two-time Democratic Labour Party (DLP) St Joseph candidate Dennis Holder is claiming that he was tricked by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in the last election.
In fact, Holder, who captured 2,364 votes – or 46.54 per cent – to the BLP incumbent Dale Marshall’s 2,715 (53.46 per cent), has readily admitted to being outfoxed by the Opposition.
Addressing last night’s launch of his constituency office in Blackman’s, St Joseph, Holder explained that he had embarked on a deliberate strategy of seeking to get his older supporters out to the polling station around 8 a.m.
However, he said by the time he arrived at the homes of many of these elderly electors, including some family members, they had already cast their ballots for the BLP.
“As I went from house to house to my family members I got the same cry from the older folks,” the DLP spokesman said, while accusing the BLP of using unorthodox methods to get persons to vote for them.
“I made a mistake. I have learnt from that mistake. Can’t happen to me again,” he stressed, adding, “I realize that I was tricked last election . . . I was new to politics. It was my first time at the polls.”
Holder is nonetheless upbeat about his chances in the upcoming poll based on what he saw as a decent showing in 2013.
“I don’t feel defeated in St Joseph. As a first-time candidate to the polls I feel good, because to have come within 300-odd of the incumbent, I thought I did well.
“I am back this time around to get the other four or five hundred [votes],” he added.
However, in his address former DLP candidate Leroy McClean, who lost to the BLP’s Louis Tull in 1991 in the St George South constituency, warned Holder not to take anything for granted.
“With only 351 votes if you get ten fraudsters coming into this constituency and they move around the constituency, that’s more than 300 votes,” McClean, who recently failed in his bid to carry the DLP’s banner in St John, cautioned while calling on Holder and his supporters to be on the lookout for voter fraud.
“I could tell you that a man who is a strong Barbados Labour Party man told me already in an election, ‘man wunna, [you all] can’t win that constituency . . . . We have ID cards that we move around this island and we can vote wherever we want’”.
McClean went further to accuse unnamed BLP activists of setting the scene for violence in this campaign while making it appear to be a DLP initiative.
“Anytime you see the Barbados Labour Party raising certain issues, watch it. About six months ago a BLP woman in St George told me, ‘boy this election going be a violent election. We feel that the Dems going be violent out there,’” he reported.
The former consul general to Canada, who also previously served as chief executive officer of the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation, also said there were rumours that the Chinese were bringing in arms, following the recent donation of military vehicles to Barbados, and charged that “the Barbados Labour Party [was] laying the groundwork for what they want to do”.
“It’s like a man about to commit a crime and he making sure that he got an alibi,” McClean added.