The United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate for St John Hudson Griffith is confident of capturing the majority of the over 5,000 votes in that rural parish in the May 24 general election.
St John, which has long been a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) stronghold, is also being contested by the DLP’s George Pilgrim, Charles Griffith of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), Cherone Martindale of Solutions Barbados and independent candidate Leroy McClean, who is also a member of the DLP.
In the 2013 election, the UPP’s Griffith, who was then a member of the BLP, had captured 1,091 votes, losing to Mara Thompson, who copped 4,025 votes for the incumbent party. However, addressing his party’s launch in Heroes Square on Saturday night, he said expects to win the seat in the upcoming poll.
“We are going to bring home this election from St John,” declared the former BLP representive who previously lost in both a by-election and a general election in St John.
However, while boasting that he was the third person for the BLP to capture over 1,000 votes in the DLP stronghold, Griffith said he was pleased to be representing the UPP this time around, adding that the BLP’s candidate Charles Griffith “cannot pull it off”.
“I have outlasted Mara Thompson in St John. I am the next rightful person to represent the St John constituency for the United Progressive Party,” Griffith added.
Outlining his plans for the constituency should the UPP form the next Government, Griffith said he would help people who do not yet own the land they were living on.
He also promised to develop the old polyclinic and its surrounding area into “a full sporting centre and indoor playing facility with accommodation” and to start the process of redeveloping Four Roads into a mini town centre and business centre.
The UPP candidate also said he had already identified at least three areas in the parish for new housing developments.
“When the process is ready I will start discussion,” he said, adding that it would help to create employment for a number of skilled workers.
While not giving details, the UPP hopeful also stated that he would “facilitate approval of tourist attractions”, while listing several areas in the parish, including the Codrington College, St John Parish Church, Martins Bay and Consett Bay.
The political hopeful also said he would ensure St John was used as the primary place for the “rebirth of a strong agriculture development”.
Also addressing the launch, UPP candidate for St Michael West Central Herman Lowe, who is the party’s lead agriculture spokesman, promised that the UPP would place more emphasis on developing the sector in an effort to drive down the country’s high food import bill and to help grow the economy.
While promising to “deliver” the country, Lowe likened the leaders of the DLP and BLP to a jockey, saying they were too heavy and poorly trained.
Meantime, UPP candidate for St George North Everton Heru Holigan promised to focus on driving down the number of non-communicable diseases plaguing the country and by extension the country’s massive health care bill through policies and measures, including the strategic establishment of gyms in communities across the island.
“It is through the community development policies that we would bring back the understanding of the body, that we would teach how to prepare our natural foods that we will encourage more agriculture. Through these policies we are hoping that instead of projecting doom and gloom, we will be projecting [progress in the fight against] diabetes, hypertension, strokes [and] cancer, which is on a rampant right now in our society,” said Holigan, adding that every resident would also have to play their part.
Urging Barbadians who are still undecided about voting in two weeks to go out and vote for the UPP, the party’s candidates, as they were introduced, insisted that they were ready to tackle high youth unemployment, poverty, better assist the elderly, stomp out corruption, deal with the country’s high debt, and solve issues relating to public transportation and the sewerage system.