Political Scientist Devaron Bruce believes an ongoing candidate reshuffle within the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is indicative of a top down attempt to rebuild the ruling party in the image of its leader.
Still, the young academic is not convinced that the changes, particularly to BLP candidates in traditional Democratic Labour Party (DLP) strongholds, will prevent the ousted party from recapturing precious political real estate in the Lower House of Parliament.
His comments follow a surprising decision from St Philip West MP John King to make way for Government Senator Kay McConney just over three years into his parliamentary career. They also followed a revelation on Tuesday from popular talk show host and Government Advisor on poverty alleviation, Corey Lane that he would be seeking the BLP nomination to contest the soon-to-be vacant City of Bridgetown seat.
According to Bruce, the moves are in no way surprising, but raise questions about the extent to which the new prospective candidates have received full support at the branch level.
“So it has to be a question of whether Mia Mottley is remaking the Barbados Labour Party in her image or is the Barbados Labour Party remaking its image from the inside out,” Bruce told Barbados TODAY, contending that similar moves unfolded in the Mia Mottley camp prior to 2018 General Election and during the St George North by-election.
“So now we have a situation where you may be implanting someone who may very well be able to win an election because you’re going to put some money behind them, but does that translate now to that individual being able to be a good representative?
“It could very well work to the detriment of Mottley and certainly she should consider the fact that she may be using political capital that is actually decreasing because of the economic circumstances,” the pundit added.
While describing both Lane and McConney as relative “political lightweights”, he was even more critical of the Government Senator’s selection noting that she is in no way an improvement over John King, who has been criticised for his apparent absence within the eastern constituency.
“I think she has a lot more work to do, particularly given that she is running in a seat that has traditionally been a Democratic Labour Party stronghold. In The City, I know that Corey is an individual who has charisma, who has national influence, who works in the area of poverty which certainly works in his favour for The City,” Bruce emphasised.
Despite the changes, he is convinced that Barbadian voting trends would seldom result in an outcome similar to the 30-0 defeat, taking more than 70 per cent of the popular vote.
“Historically, political parties in Barbados have gained at least 40 per cent of the national vote in most elections and fight over the remaining 20 per cent. If a political party is winning 70 per cent of the national vote, they are clearly getting the votes of the opponent,” Bruce explained.
“I don’t think it is anything controversial to say that they are historical strongholds for the Democratic Labour Party, those being St Philip (three constituencies), St Lucy, St John, and one or two St Michael seats. So we expect that the Democratic Labour Party would be more competitive in the upcoming election as opposed to the last.
“I think there was a situation where people were fed up with the last administration and decided to give Mia Mottley a chance. But I don’t think that that situation is going to recur to the same degree, because there have been several failures and I don’t think any Dems would give her a chance again, because quite honestly, things didn’t pan out in the way they would have sold it to the masses.” [email protected]