It was a party-like atmosphere in The City of Bridgetown today, as political candidates contesting the May 24 general election handed in their nomination papers at the Bethel Methodist Church on Bay Street, sealing their participation in the upcoming poll.
Before the scheduled 10 a.m. start, officials from the Electoral and Boundaries Commission welcomed leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) Lynette Eastmond, who was first out of the blocks, flanked by some of her supporters.
Speaking to reporters after the process was completed, Eastmond said if elected to the House of Assembly her first priority would be to address the island’s ailing economy.
“The biggest issue in Barbados is that we are not earning enough money and unfortunately the two labour parties have not focused on that,” Eastmond said.
“Barbados needs to earn more money. There has been a fall off in the international sector from $300 million to $90 [million] and that is a lot of money that we have lost.
“We don’t think that we are earning enough [from] the tourism sector. Although we have visitors coming, everyone is complaining about the spend. It is also clear from the foreign reserves that we aren’t getting the amount of foreign exchange that we expect out of that industry,” she said.
Quickly after Eastmond made her exit, the DLP’s candidate Henderson Williams arrived with a group of placard waving supporters, who danced and sang their way into the nomination centre.
Williams, who was also flanked by St Michael South Central candidate Richard Sealy, St Michael South East candidate Rodney Grant and Grant’s predecessor Hamilton Lashley, was confident of victory.
“I think the response that we have been having, reaching out to the people, I think we are well on course to winning the seat. We will take the seat and continue to do what we are doing to development the City of Bridgetown,” he said after completing the nomination process.
Williams also touched on the planned construction of a multi million dollar Hyatt Centric Resort in the capital, saying it will create employment for residents.
“We will be working to ensure that it becomes a reality and The City people will get jobs,” Williams said before the nomination centre was overtaken by ‘Bees’.
As retired Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic led a group of red t-shirt clad supporters into the centre, he also expressed confidence of retaining The City seat, which he won by a mere 124 votes in the last election ahead of the DLP’s Patrick Todd who had copped 1,888 votes.
“I am elated. I feel very good, not because I am officially the candidate, but because I am surrounded by so many of my constituents. My chances of winning are very good because I believe I have served the people well and I think that one good term deserves another.
“I am confident that my people will do the right thing and I do not even think about my opponents.” he said to loud cheers from supporters.
First-time candidate Natalie Natlee Harewood came with her own music truck and a poodle in tow.
Despite some early nerves, she said she was positive of victory on May 24.
“I am going forward and I am going to win this seat, there is no doubt. I am determined to go all the way and give my people what they want. Together everyone achieves more,” the former sex worker and independent candidate said.
Also contesting The City seat is Solutions Barbados’ Fallon Best, who was the last to enter the centre and make his campaign official.
Best also spoke of his party’s vision to transform the capital.
“We want to have 7,000 more homes in Bridgetown. We want over $1 billion in investment. We don’t need long delays in planning. We will set up an urban generation authority that is what we need for the City of Bridgetown,” he said.