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Seat of Power

BLP quartet in race to take Thorne's seat

by Sheria Brathwaite
4 min read

Four Barbados Labour Party (BLP) political hopefuls have thrown their hat in the ring to contest for the candidacy of Christ Church South, Barbados TODAY has learned.

Senator Dr Shantal Munro-Knight, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office is the highest profile name in the quartet, joined by Kurt Haynes, personal assistant to the Minister of Health, Justice of the Peace Janal Browne, and vice president of the Barbados Agricultural Society Rommel Parris.

BLP chief executive officer Pat Parris confirmed that the candidates made known their interest in pursuing electoral politics.

She told Barbados TODAY: “I know that they have expressed an interest in being candidates in Christ Church South.” However, she deferred further comments to party chairman Reginald Farley, general secretary Senator Jerome Walcott or party leader Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

When contacted, Farley said: “I don’t have any comment at this stage, to be honest with you.”

Asked to provide details on Nomination Day and the process, he said: “Those are matters the party has to attend to. The machinery is at work and I will make a comment as soon as those matters are ready to be confirmed. Internal orders have to take care of some of these matters before we are able to make an official comment.”

However, Farley added: “There is nothing wrong with anybody going out there and making themselves known. It is very healthy.”

The vacancy for Christ Church South constituency’s candidate opened up when Ralph Thorne, who was elected under a BLP ticket in the 2022 elections, left the party and was officially sworn in as Leader of the Opposition on February 12.

He charged that there had been moves to replace him in the constituency since 2018. He did not mention any names then but said: “You’re pretending to be embracing me in Parliament [on Tuesday but] Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday and Sunday, you are in the constituency introducing alternates for the people of Christ Church. That is a fact . . . . Over the last two years, powerful influences have introduced alternate candidates into the constituency. This is known, don’t let us not pretend. And in those circumstances of infiltration and undermining, all of that adds to my alienation from the government.”

Both Senator Munro-Knight and Browne declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Parris, who is also the head of the Barbados Sheep and Goat Farmers Association, said he was a community-driven person and was encouraged to try his luck.

He said, if successful, he wanted to develop a simple yet effective policy revolving around respecting people from all walks of life, listening to the real issues of concern and responding to them in a timely fashion.

Parris said: “What I’ve realised over the years from working with the former Member of Parliament is that people need representation, and representation can come in any form, fashion or style. You don’t have to be at the top of what we will call the elitist stage to be a representative in this country . . . . I know what it is to work with everyday people. I know what it is to see everyday people suffering. I know what it is to try to help everyday people.”

The small farmer added that he built a relationship with the constituents who widely supported him when he announced his interest in being the candidate.

He sent his letter of interest to the party on March 16, he said.

Haynes told Barbados TODAY he understood the BLP’s core values which included integrity and unwavering dedication and had decided he would man up and take the torch after Thorne’s departure.

“Following a period of under-representation and, ultimately, betrayal in Christ Church South, I felt the need and a genuine desire to offer myself to the people in the hope to address and correct the disappointment in the current Member of Parliament,” he said.

“Trustworthiness and unquestionable dedication are what people in Christ Church South want and deserve. Similar to Sir Harold Bernard St John, my membership and track record within the party [have] been characterised and repeatedly recognised as excellent, and I still continue to roll up my sleeves and work tirelessly to make a positive impact in the lives of those around me. I also bring to the table a unique combination of skills and experiences, as well as a genuine love for the parish of Christ Church, the constituency of Christ Church South, and its people.”

Haynes, the party’s assistant general secretary, has served twice as the chairman of the party’s annual conference and as a member of the management team.



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