United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate for St Michael South Central David Gill has joined Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate Arthur Holder in encouraging Barbadians to accept money from alleged vote buyers.
Speaking last night at a UPP meeting in the constituency he held for the BLP from 1999 to 2003, but has since lost on three successive occasions to Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, Gill charged that “a lot of money knocking ‘bout the place” and urged those present to accept it as compensation for the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL).
“You don’t be out late enough, but very late, wee hours, money is being sent out. I say to the young people take it because that is your NSRL that the merchants and businessmen are giving them back,” Gill told the meeting at Tweedside Road, St Michael.
Stuart was the first to openly encourage the acceptance of cash, telling a Democratic Labour Party meeting in St Peter last month that “if money starts sharing around try and get some”.
Despite strong criticism of Stuart for the comment, Holder told a BLP meeting in Yard Gap, Bush Hall, St Michael, that “all you have to do is take the money. But you aren’t going to only take their money, you need to take their money and vote against them”.
The issue of vote buying had been raised by none other than Stuart following the 2013 general election. No one was ever prosecuted.
Meantime, Gill, who along with UPP leader Lynette Eastmond had been BLP members, promised that should his party win the next election due in a matter of weeks, its first order of business would be to reduce the size of the Cabinet in order to save tens of millions of dollars a year.
“We do not need a minister per mile length of Barbados . . . . If we cut the ministers from 21 to 13 or 14 we could save $5 million a month and $60 million a year we could save $300 million in the lifespan in a parliament,” he stressed, stating that the savings were enough to train and retrain young men and women in various constituencies.
Gill also called on voters to limit the number of seats they give to the winning party to less than a two-thirds majority, otherwise “you could do as you please” with a large majority.
He also took a swipe at BLP leader Mia Mottley, claiming that she repeatedly calls on Stuart to name the election date because of the BLP leader’s desire to keep the UPP out of the race.
“She has been calling for an election . . . but as I look at it under an electric microscope . . . what I can see is Mottley wanted Stuart to call the election early so that the UPP wouldn’t have a chance,” Gill said, while accusing representatives of other parties of using intimidatory tactics to try and sway people’s votes.