Incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) St George South supporter Selly Payne has an extraordinary wish this general election.
While Payne has no doubt that he wants the DLP to be returned to power in the May 24 poll, his wish is that it will be done with the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate, Dwight Sutherland, retaining the St George South seat.
“It is very ticklish up here but I believe that Dwight will win the seat again. But I would like Dwight win it and the Democratic Labour Party get back in power,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Payne holds no brief for the BLP or its leader, Mia Mottley, whom he said could not possibly fulfil her campaign promises to repeal the onerous National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), reintroduce free education at the university level, abolish road tax and replace it with a petrol tax, purchase vehicles for the Transport Board and the Sanitation Service Authority and give public servants a pay rise.
“What will Mia Mottley do to make Barbados better? I know the Democratic Labour Party has to get back in because there is a lot of work to be done. We want to get back the power so we can have a good country. Mia can’t make Barbados better.
“I don’t believe she can do half of the things she is talking about. She putting we to dead. When she take away the NSRL and the road tax, how will that make us better?” Payne asked.
His overt support for Sutherland was a manifestation of the strong support which the incumbent enjoys among constituents, many of whom expressed affection for his main opponent, the DLP candidate, Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo.
She appeared to have a chance when Barbados TODAY visited the constituency last September to gauge the Pulse of the People.
Back then, the fledgling Solutions Barbados had been receiving significant support from residents who had previously tried the two main parties, tightening the race.
However, no one even mentioned Solutions Barbados this time round, and even those who are partial to Byer-Suckoo were predicting she would have to climb mountains in order to oust the incumbent.
Sutherland has the advantage of running in a seat which has gone to the BLP on only three occasions since it was created in 1971, although Byer-Suckoo held it for one term between 2008 and 2013.
Retired prison officer Lloyd Knight told Barbados TODAY there was no way the outgoing Minister of Labour can retake the seat.
“I trust no one but I am voting red,” Knight said in reference to the BLP, which has red as the party colour. “Sutherland will win this seat hands down,” the 63-year-old said.
A confident Knight also threw his full support behind the Mottley-led BLP, while accusing the governing DLP of doing nothing to improve the country during its two terms at the helm.
“I really hope the Bees get in because for the ten years I have seen nothing from the Government. The blues [DLP] haven’t told Barbadians what are their plans for the island as yet. What they are doing is waiting to see what the reds will do to criticize.”
Over in Ellerton, a couple metres from Byer Suckoo’s constituency office, Mark Rollins appeared torn between two former classmates.
But upon closer examination Rollins hinted at casting his ballot in Sutherland’s favour come next week.
“All two of the candidates are my good friends. From what I am getting and feeling I think Sutherland will win and the Barbados Labour Party seems to be out front,” Rollins, a mechanic in the community, told Barbados TODAY, adding that it was time for a change of Government.
“I think this country running very bad and this Government needs to go. We have good people in Barbados who can’t get a job. People are suffering. I can’t wait for May 24 to come. If I could go sleep now and wake up on the 24th I would just to get rid of this Government. I want this Government out of power. It is nothing [but] nonsense,” he said.
Another resident, Rose Boyce, believes both candidates have done well to uplift the constituency, and although she said it would be a tough choice between the two, Boyce gave Sutherland the advantage.
“For the time I was living up here I can’t say that Suckoo didn’t do anything. I would never say that. She did her part. In fact each of them [played their part]. No one is better than the other [but] for right now Dwight is in the position to win. Suckoo have to come with more power,” she said, while calling on the political parties that are yet to release their manifestos to tell Barbadians what they intend to do to improve the lot of the people.