A day after Democratic Labour Party leader Verla De Peiza announced that she would contest the St Lucy seat in the next general elections, several constituents in the northern parish declared they do not know who she is.
De Peiza announced on Sunday’s Brasstacks radio programme that she will be battling incumbent MP Peter Philips for the seat. But a number of constituents – overwhelmingly male – suggested to Barbados TODAY the politician is going to have to put in some work to convince the people of St Lucy that she was the right person for them.
She was raised in Northumberland, St Lucy, but many there said they were not familiar with her family history and political career.
John Baker, who declared that he was not really into politics, said he wished De Peiza success but he indicated that if he saw her walking past him he would not recognize her. Baker said he was raised in Crab Hill, St Lucy and has been informed that De Peiza also has family in that area, but stressed that he was yet to meet her.
Baker said: “I don’t have a problem with her coming and running because it is not my business, but she can’t wait until elections to come. Right now she got to come to St Lucy, refresh people memories. She got a lot of work to put in and she can’t wait until the last minute to do it. She got to be out there doing it now. I am neither for or against the two parties, but my suggestion is that she got to get out here and deal with the people. Let people see who you are.
“Bajans believe in God because it is a Christian thing but them ain’t believing in De Peiza and can’t see she. She got to come out here and mingle with the people and let the people know who she is and what she is about to do. Bajans don’t accept people like that because they don’t like changes too easy. People hearing about this woman but very few people know who she is. And to be honest, I ain’t got any time to come out and read no newspaper to read about people who bread butter already.”
Calvin Greaves from Checker Hall, who said he has been hearing word that De Peiza was looking to contest St Lucy in the next general elections constitutionally due in 2023, declared that he has never seen the potential candidate in his life.
He said: “I don’t know her. I just hear that she coming to run. But it’s her life and let her do what she got to do. I don’t know her period. Never see her in my whole life yet. I just hear that she come from Crab Hill. If she brown, white, green, I can’t tell you that. But, if she wants to run to catch a break, catch it with both hands. I wish her good luck.:
The last DLP MP for St Lucy, the popular Half Moon Fort shopkeeper Dennis Kellman, told Barbados TODAY that he had no comment to make about De Peiza’s announcement. Kellman announced his intention to withdraw from elective politics last year after being defeated at the polls in 2018,
Sitting behind the cash register at his supermarket, bar and restaurant, Kellman calmly stated: “I do not have any comment to make on the matter.”
But across the road from Kellman’s business at the fish market was a vocal Dave Jackson, who said that he was born and bred in St Lucy and declared his lifelong support for the incumbent and the ruling party.
Jackson said: “I vote for Mr Phillips and the Barbados Labour Party all my life so I ain’t switching. I will not switch. So she could run from now until thy kingdom come. I will not support the Democratic Labour Party now or never.
“Once Mr Phillips do the right thing, he ain’t got no competition. And once the Government of Barbados do the right thing there wouldn’t be competition for Mr Phillips. It would be another 30-love again, we playing tennis again.”
Henderson Griffith who was also at the market said that he was born and raised in St Lucy but now resides in St George North. Griffith said he is always in St Lucy and is confident that he knows De Peiza may not get the support she is looking for in that parish.
Griffith said: “From the first day I saw her when she come campaigning when she announced herself as the candidate and I stupes my mouth she walked away. She did not even stay and tried to see if she could make a difference. When it comes to the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), not me.”
The Barbados TODAY team also passed through Crab Hill where residents who did not want to give their names said that they heard about De Peiza’s announcement, but were yet to find out more about her.