United Progressive Party (UPP) founder Lynette Eastmond has lashed out at political pundits who have dismissed the chances of newer political parties, like hers, making their mark in the upcoming St George North by-election.
During a political meeting over the weekend, Eastmond endorsed the party’s candidate, Ambrose Grosvenor, as the best man to represent the constituency in Parliament.
She further argued that after two years under the Barbados Labour Party Government, it was becoming increasingly evident that policies contained in the UPP’s 2018 manifesto were in the country’s best interest.
“There are some people who will try to make you believe that there is no need for another voice in politics in Barbados, that there is no need for a United Progressive Party, but there is.
“There are some people in St George North who believe that the election is a foregone conclusion. I saw a young man on Facebook saying that the other candidates might as well keep their deposit in their pocket, and I was very disappointed to hear a young man say that,” said Eastmond of the unnamed critic.
“But I am here to say that you have a choice, and the way that elections should go in the future in Barbados is that you should vote for the candidate who you believe would best look after your interest, who has the ability to do it, and who is not afraid of hard work.”
During her near 30-minute address, Eastmond also joined a growing number of voices in the country expressing concern about national debates announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
She slammed what, in her view, is a lack of oversight by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBB) and the absence of consultation with political parties on the format of the debates.
“What we are saying is that the Electoral and Boundaries Commission is responsible for running elections in Barbados, not a party leader, because when it comes to an election, everybody is just a party leader or a candidate or a supporter of a candidate; nothing more,” Eastmond argued.
“And if it were that there were going to be debates, all of the parties legitimately participating in the election would have to be consulted, and this was not done.”
While admitting that some candidates appear to be intimidated by the prospect of a national debate, Eastmond stressed that the UPP’s candidate was suitably qualified.
“Our candidate has already been involved in the process of reviewing the budgets presented by the Governor, the Estimates presented by the Government, and has formulated responses to those Estimates. When the Integrity in Public Life Bill was put on the table for a response, he helped to formulate a response of the United Progressive Party, which was taken to the parliamentary subcommittee,” she said.
The longstanding politician noted that Ambrose has worked within the constituency’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM), assisted in the eradication of the Giant African Snail and participated in projects to mitigate flooding in the constituency. More recently, she said, he collected 200 signatures demanding the resumption of a bus service to Workmans, St George and surrounding areas.
“He did that without being a Member of Parliament. Just imagine what he will do when he becomes a Member of Parliament,” said Eastmond.
“Now that this by-election has come, the people have the opportunity to listen to the United Progressive Party again, to listen to our candidate Ambrose Grosvenor again – a man who, when he retired early from banking, put his efforts into his community.”