The upcoming political debates don’t appear to have much significance to the people of St George North.
In fact, most of those in the constituency who spoke to Barbados TODAY indicated they had already made up their minds on which candidate they would vote for in the November 11 by-election.
Four candidates – Toni Moore of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), the People’s Party for Democracy and Development’s (PdP) David Walrond, Grenville Phillips II of Solutions Barbados, and the Barbados Free Party’s Alex Mitchell – have already confirmed their participation in the live televised debates scheduled to take place on October 29 and November 6 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate, Floyd Reifer and Ambrose Grosvenor of the United Progressive Party (UPP) have opted not to take part in the debates.
When a team from Barbados TODAY visited some of the communities in the constituency, all those interviewed said they already knew who was getting their vote.
A resident of Arthur’s Road, Parish Land, who gave his name as Mr Graham, said while he would listen to the debates they would not have an impact on his decision.
“I listen to the radio and the candidates already come through here so the debate isn’t really an issue for me. I will still watch it on my TV but it’s not that big a deal for me one way or another,” he said.
Elwin Browne, who lives just a stone’s throw away, also said his mind was already made up.
“Debate? I know Reifer. He born bout hey and I beating home drums first. I does watch and listen to the radio and television but my mind made up,” he said.
His friend Kelvin Clarke was of the same view.
He said he would be voting for Reifer because of his closeness to the community.
“I don’t need a debate to tell me who to vote for. It will be interesting to listen to, but Reifer won’t be on it but I will still be voting for him,” Clarke said.
While not revealing his choice of candidate, a resident of Bridge Cot Terrace, who declined to give his name, told Barbados TODAY he saw no need for a debate in a by-election.
The middle-aged man said such an event should only be staged for a general election involving all party leaders.
“I’ve never seen a debate for two people running in an election. Let the head of the DLP, the head of the BLP, the head of Solutions and the heads of the rest, they should have the debate,” he said.
“All of a sudden they call a debate. We have roads that need fixing so let them come and deal with that. No debate ain’t gine make no difference.”
One lady who said she resided in Airy Hill but declined to give her name, also said she believed most constituents already knew who they would vote for.
She said while she would have loved to see all the candidates participate in at least one of the debates, it would make little difference in who voters selected.
“People already know who they are voting for. The candidates have been canvassing for a while so we already know what they are offering,” she said.
“The majority of people vote for a particular party, so regardless of who that person puts forward they will still get the vote, so I don’t expect the debate to change much.”
A resident of Lower Estate who said he did not want to give his name for fear of victimisation, also said he was decided.
He said that after listening to all the candidates who had visited the area, he made his decision based on who he believed had the best offerings.