Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate for St John George Pilgrim is dismissing a bid by fellow party member Leroy McClean for the traditionally safe DLP seat.
Pilgrim, who this morning was nominated by Gloria Boxill and seconded by Robin Greenidge, with Claire Padmore and Randolph Bascombe as witnesses, is facing an unexpected challenge from McClean, over whom he was chosen as the DLP’s replacement for the outgoing Mara Thompson, who has represented the constituency since January 2011, following the death of her husband, then Prime Minister David Thompson, in 2010.
A confident Pilgrim told reporters this morning he was focused on his own race and was not about to be distracted by what others were doing.
“My dad once told me that what a man worries about is what worries a man. My focus in St John is not on those who are opposing me, my focus is on meeting the needs of the people of St John,” Pilgrim said.
McClean announced last Friday that he would contest the DLP stronghold as an independent, although he told Barbados TODAY he would remain a member of the DLP and did not intend to relinquish his membership.
Downplaying the development this morning Pilgrim, the DLP’s general secretary, said he was no stranger to opposition, arguing that it was par for the course when vying for leadership positions.
“Like any other activity one can expect opposition. When I ran for game’s captain I had opposition, when I ran for my church council and when I ran for general secretary I had opposition. In the 100-metre race there are eight lanes and because this is a race to see who would be the Member of Parliament for St John there must be contestants and I am part of that race,” he stressed.
Also in the race for St John are Charles Griffith of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), the United Progressive Party’s Hudson Griffith, who ran on a BLP ticket in 2010 and 2013, and Cherone Martindale of Solutions Barbados, all of whom were nominated today.
The DLP has held the St John seat since 1958 when Errol Barrow – who would later become the island’s first Prime Minister – won 50 per cent of the votes in a by election on May 21, 1958 over Owen Allder of the BLP and independent candidate John Chenery.
The DLP’s Mara Thompson did even better when she contested the 2011 by election, sweeping through with 89 per cent on the votes, before holding on to the seat with a comfortable 79 per cent in 2013.
However, she recently announced she was bowing out of active politics with Pilgrim subsequently hand picked by the DLP hierarchy as her replacement.