Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate for St George North Floyd Reifer delivered his maiden speech on a political platform last night outlining his vision for the development of the community, with a special focus on empowering its people.
His delivery, at the Glebe, St George, was a mix of serious, thought-provoking ideas blended with the occasional humour.
Reifer told the gathering at the Lift Up & Praise gospel concert and public meeting that if elected his focus would be on “empowerment and inclusion” of all.
“Friends, I have a vision for St George North. It is a vision for community empowerment and a vision for community inclusion. Everyone that has something to contribute must be able to do so, whether they hail from Parish Land, Flat Rock, Walkers, St Jude’s, Rose Park, anywhere in St George North… whether they are old, young or in between,” he said.
“Everyone that wants to advance and better themselves should also be able to do so. Why is it that in 2020, with all the technology and skills available, our young men and women can’t get help to pursue a business or even a community project? I am going to change that.”
The DLP candidate said that one of his main missions is to have a businesses and services directory of talents in the constituency, readily available.
“We will set up a community resource bank and we will match people who have experience….That same community resource bank will serve as a directory of businesses and services available in St George North. Home drums will beat first,” Reifer said.
The professional cricket coach added that any major plans for the area must include agriculture.
“We know that St George North is part of the island’s bread basket when it comes to food production. Imagine, in 2020, our farmers still struggle to sell their produce when we have community centres and other spaces that can serve as a location for weekly farmers markets. I have plans, big plans, big works too. In the coming weeks we will have conversations. I am in this for the long haul,” he said.
Taking a swipe at his opponents, the former international cricketer charged that the ruling party continuously “disrespected” residents of the rural constituency.
“I say to you, tonight, it is time that we put a stop to the ongoing disrespect of the people of St George North by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). It is time to send a strong message that St George North’s lives matter too; and it should not matter what colour shirt you have on. I will be representing all. I don’t see colour, I see people. . . . Every man, woman and child in St George North will be my priority.”
When Reifer aimed his shots in the direction of his opponents, the crowd screamed and shouted in approval. The atmosphere was akin to that of a cricket ground when the batsman hits boundaries.
“All these programmes that are designed to make sure poor people remain poor, begin with B. They would have us believe that B is for Barbados. But I feel B is for BLP and whether it is BERT, BOSS or BEST, it is bad for Bim. You need to reject Moore cause you will only get less,” he said, referring to the BLP’s candidate, Toni Moore.
Reifer told residents that the BLP was playing a game of “bait and switch” by putting Moore, the General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), in the race.
“Anybody remember when a store in town used to have things dog cheap, and we would hop on a minivan and try to get town, only to [realise] when we reach down there all the things gone, and the sales clerk trying to sell we something else? People use to call it bait and switch. Bait and switch; well that sums up who they sent to represent us.
“Before the 2018 general election, the BWU, under the leadership of Miss Moore, demanded 15 per cent pay increase across the board…. In June 2018, a few weeks after the general election, the BWU under the same Miss Moore accepted 4.5 per cent. Bait and switch; calling for more and getting far less.”
Along with a number of former DLP Government ministers, the meeting also attracted the attention of former BLP Government minister Anthony Wood, who made himself very visible, walking up and down during the meeting.