Barbadians won’t get the opportunity to see Floyd Reifer take part in any live televised debates.
And it seems unlikely they will see Ambrose Grosvenor either.
Both Reifer, the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) candidate for next month’s by-election in St George North and Grosvenor, who will be running on a United Progressive Party (UPP) ticket, have questioned the effectiveness of the debates ahead of the November 11 by-election.
While Reifer and DLP president Verla De Peiza made it clear this morning the party would not be taking part in either of the two proposed live debates, UPP chairman Everton Heru Holligan hinted that the party might boycott the October 29 and November 6 proposed political debates.
Speaking to members of the media moments after paying his $250 deposit at the Treasury, Reifer said he would spend the few weeks remaining campaigning throughout St George North.
“My main focus is to continue to engage and listen to the people of St George North. Unlike my opponent who had months and months to prepare and she knew she would be contesting this election, I had very few weeks to work on so my focus is to concentrate on the people of St George North and stay in the field and meet as many constituents as possible,” Reifer said.
“Like I said on Sunday, if they want a debate let’s meet at Lower Estate and let us inhale the stench of that dump and let us debate then, or let us go to Superlative where people have pit toilets and let’s debate that. We could go up to Cottage with all the overgrown bush, rats festering and mosquitos, let us bring the podium, bring the microphone and let’s debate on those issues right there.”
De Peiza maintained that the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) candidate Toni Moore had months to prepare for the by-election.
She said with the DLP having been given just over a month’s notice, there was a need to strategize and prioritize.
“We had our information from before the country locked down for COVID that Mrs Moore was walking the constituency of St George North, so she had months of a headstart ahead of anyone else. By the Constitution there is a 90-day limit; we were given 45 days. That means that our campaign is significantly truncated and our focus has to be the people of St George North.
“There will be no debate from us. We are interested in the people of St George North in this by-election and we are not satisfied that the debates were focused in that direction. The choice of topics suggests that [we] were not even consulted in relation to the debates,” De Peiza said.
Meanwhile, Holligan, who accompanied Grosvenor to the National Housing Corporation building to pay his deposit, contended that the debates were not focused on the people of St George North.
He pointed out that the UPP was not looking for fame and that its main goal was to serve the people of Barbados.
“We know the issues of St George North and the debate is not about the issues. The debate is about a national presentation which has very little to do with the residents of St George North, so even as we are interested in the exposure, we are interested in making sure we have an organic campaign that continues to deal with issues and not a pompous presentation that has very little to do with the people of St George North.
“This is not a national election. It’s a very local election and it’s important that we pay attention to the people and what they want, not what an establishment has stood up and said they should want,” Holligan said.
But when asked for a direct answer as to if the UPP would take part in the debates, Holligan responded, “To be clear we are still deciding and we will take our time to decide. If the debate is anything like what happened on Sunday night on The People’s Business, which was a disgust, we pretty much will not be participating.”
The Barbados Labour Party, Solutions Barbados and the Bajan Free Party have already indicated that they will take part in the political debates.