The Most Honourable Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, outgoing Minister of Health, says his decision to exit politics at this time had nothing to do with the stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic or any other pressure.
Bostic, who spent his final day on the job on Tuesday, a day before a new administration would be elected in the general election, announced at the end of September last year that he would be leaving active politics.
He said he decided to bow out of politics at this time simply because he had all intention from the time he started, to not spend more than three full terms as a politician. He also pointed to the toll it has taken on his family life over the years.
“I calculated that having spent 26 years or so in the Barbados Defence Force I would spend about 15 years in politics and that would be 41 years. I did not want to be doing that into my 60s because it was a very, very hard sacrifice on family. That is the truth . . . that really was the reason and I have it planned like that,” said the 61-year-old Bostic.
His first five years were spent as a caretaker for The City after his party was defeated at the polls. He spent the second term as an Opposition MP before being elevated to Minister of Health following the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) victory in the May 2018 general election.
“So that is really what made me decide to go at this time. It had nothing to do with anything that is happening right now,” said Bostic, who opted not to address concerns related to COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing strike by nurses, but to only reflect on his time in office.
Following his announcement on September 30, 2021 that he would be bowing out of politics ahead of the next general election, there was speculation that Bostic may have been coerced or the job had become too much for him to handle given the challenges that came with the COVID-19 pandemic which started to affect Barbados in March 2020.
However, Bostic insisted that was not the case, adding that he also wanted to leave at a time when his political party still resonated with the masses.
“I promised myself that whenever I was going to leave politics I didn’t want it to be at a time when my party had become so unpopular so that we end up in opposition and then a new person had to come to face that. That is a significant challenge when you are operating in constituencies like The City of Bridgetown, and that is not good for the constituency and the people, and then it is not good for the persons who is running. That is the reason I made that decision, it had nothing to do with COVID and the stress people would say it brought to me,” he explained.
Bostic said despite the challenges he faced while being Minister of Health over the past three and a half years, he enjoyed every minute on the job.
“This is what duty and service is all about. It was something I enjoyed doing on behalf of my country that has given me so much. So it wasn’t to do with COVID at all.” [email protected]