Barbados needs urgent changes to its electoral process to advance its development, deputy leader of the Alliance Party for Progress (APP) Lynette Eastmond has declared.
And according to the five-time political candidate, those changes must include a vote for third parties, given what she described as the unsatisfactory representation by the island’s two main parties, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in the St Philip West constituency she is hoping represent in Parliament.
“We need to do big things again for our people. But, unfortunately, what has happened between the two parties, they just play musical chairs. They are confident that you will put them back in, whether you are still dissatisfied with them or not, that you will put them back in.
“At this point in time, Barbados needs something else to advance its democracy. If you look at many of the countries in the world, you would see that most of the developed countries who are doing well have more than two parties,” Eastmond told a spot meeting at Woodbourne Park, St Philip.
She pointed out the DLP’s David Estwick had done nothing in the constituency since losing the vote in 2018, only to reappear this election; while the BLP had disrespected residents when it replaced incumbent MP John King with Minister of Science, Innovation and Smart Technology Kay McConney to contest the seat without consulting them.
Eastmond argued that while she was not the elected representative, she successfully lobbied for a fix to poor drainage issues affecting some communities and has also researched, reviewed and shared information on critical pieces of legislation to inform citizens.
She offered to build on these efforts and promised a new type of representation.
“What I am bringing to you is representation that actually involves you. Most of the politicians these days do not understand that representation means talking to you, finding out what your concerns are, and seeking to implement them, it is not having in your own head what is important and going about doing it.
“When you win a seat, my view is that it is an opportunity – an opportunity to work for you the constituent within the constituency, to meet with you frequently and to understand what your needs are, to discuss them and implement change for you,” Eastmond contended.
Turning her attention to broader national issues, the APP candidate suggested that Barbados had to develop its own plan for growth, and not rely on the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Insisting the country should not only be dependent on tourism, Eastmond said: “If we had a competent government, they would look at the talent that we have in Barbados, not only in technology but all of the creative and cultural sectors, and ensure that you actually develop industries.
“You need a ministry that is going to focus on the business of culture, the business of technology. This is what you need. It needs a ministry itself dedicated to marketing and promotion, and I have said if you take one per cent of the budget allocated to tourism it would make a vast difference to this industry which, in my view, we need to create.
“This is just one of the ideas that can bring growth back to the Barbados economy and can help to create jobs in Barbados,” she said. (SD)