The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has started the process of selecting a new candidate to replace St Michael West Parliamentary Representative Bishop Joseph Atherley who convincingly won the seat in the May 24 general election on a BLP ticket, but later resigned to become Opposition Leader.
Over the weekend the party, at its 80th annual conference at the Lodge School, St John, gave its political leader Prime Minister Mia Mottley the go ahead to select a candidate for that constituency.
“A resolution to this effect received unanimous approval and support of conference delegates attending the three-day meeting” a statement from the BLP said today.
The BLP’s constitution provides that the party leader, in exceptional circumstances, can select a candidate to represent the constituency.
The resolution authorizes Prime Minister Mottley to select the candidate after consultation with the executive of the constituency branch.
When contacted president of the branch, John Bancroft, said the consultation had already taken place. He replied when pressed to say whether the new candidate had been selected, “No not as yet…we are in the process now.” he replied.
While the BLP prepares to present the people of St Michael West with a fresh face, the people have been having their say on the matter.
“I feel they should have a new one because we do not have any representation down here right now,” a resident who was at a table liming in the shop at the corner of Westbury Main Road and Rihanna Drive said.
Another man, who was at the same table agreed with his colleague on the question of representation but went further.
“People say they have not seen him since the general election. I told them straight and plain, we don’t have any representation. He got what he wanted…he got elected and he moved over to Opposition Leader,” the constituent said.
At that point, a third man in the shop joined his other two friends, said, “I think we need a representative, regardless of what side he come from.”
They appeared upset at Atherley’s decision to cross the floor in the way he did.
“He ain’t tell we a word, not a word. If he did come to the people and say something,” was the consensus among the trio.
“He disrespected the people who put him there. He didn’t say he was changing sides,” one of the men, who seemed to be the unofficial spokesman added.
A woman sitting in a corner nearby quietly told Barbados TODAY she did not have anything to say because she is a supporter of the Democratic Labour Party.
Next door at 1st Avenue Parris Gap, a householder did not mince words in her response to the development.
“I ain’t supporting he [Atherley] nor I ain’t supporting no BLP candidate either. I ain’t supporting nobody,” the woman, who did not want to be identified said.
On the same street, a vocal resident made it clear who he was backing.
“I am a BLP man. I will deal with the BLP till I die. My family…all of them are Dees, but I am a Bee. I belong to Atherley too. I belong to Atherley, so I telling wunnuh now, Atherley did nuff for me. So when it come to Atherley now, personally, I dealing with Atherley, because Atherley did personal things for me, that I cannot ever disrespect him in no way,” the BLP supporter told Barbados TODAY.
At 3rd Avenue, Parris Gap, sentiments that the area did not have a parliamentary representative were echoed.
“We don’t have any representative as far as I am concerned,” she insisted, but said she would support a BLP candidate.
Along the same road, a constituent who was on her way home was clear in her mind what her decision would be when the BLP presents its new candidate.
“I for Atherley…Atherley,” she said.
Another resident who was found sitting in her verandah, expressed disappointment at the Mia Mottley administration.
The upset constituent said she was not happy with the way things were turning out in the country after the party was given an overwhelming mandate at the polls.
But in an area known as Vietnam, a man left no doubt that he would support a BLP candidate.
Another resident from the same district said everybody in the community voted the BLP.
A constituent, who gave her name as June Cadogan, said people may now be skeptical about supporting another BLP candidate fearing they might switch sides as Atherley did.
On the block in Vietnam, a young man, who appeared to be the spokesman, told Barbados TODAY they were supporters of the BLP.
Efforts to reach Atherley for comment were unsuccessful.