Veteran politician George Payne is ready, but he is taking nothing for granted as he continues to garner support for another term in the House of Assembly.
His Hillaby branch office was a hive of activity when a team from Barbados TODAY stopped by this afternoon.
The Barbados Labour Party candidate for St. Andrew, who first won his seat in 1994, says that after 22 years in Parliament canvassing was “fairly easy because I am more or less on a one on one with everybody in the constituency”.
He noted that since the 2008 election he had covered “almost” the entire rural constituency but he would not be surprised if someone said they had not seen him since then because they might not have been at home when he passed by.
Payne has 100 volunteers who are divided into teams and they canvass the rural riding.
On Saturday the canvassers all wearing white shirts in memory of Arlene Thomas who died last year, were in Farmer’s, Church Gap, Heywoods Road, Hillaby, Moise Bottom, Gregg Farm, Turner’s Hall, White Hill. They have also been in Diamond Corner, Indian Ground, and Buccanneer.
About the shirts, Payne said that Thomas was one of the branch’s chief organisers and her death “really, really shocked us”. He noted that it was decided they should wear white for her throughout the election.
“The winning of this election is for Arlene. This election is for Arlene and I hope that everything will go all right. We have … looked at one or two areas where we could try to perpetuate the memory of what she stood for. The Arlene Thomas Foundation is one of the projects we will be looking at very, very shortly,” Payne said.
The major plank on which his platform would be built surrounds what he called the failure of Government to continue their programmes.
“Normally you don’t start with negatives but in this particular case I would have to start with a negative. The failure of this Government to carry out a lot of programmes which were on stream when the Barbados Labour Party demitted office.
“Central among them was the centre at Belleplaine. We had made arrangements, in fact, the centre was supposed to start in February encompassing a police complex, a community development office, a pavilion for the cricketers at Belleplaine, post office, day care centre, similar to what you have at the Eric Holder Complex. Those plans were already completed and nothing has been done.
“Secondly, in Rock Hall the community centre was about to have a face-lift and … this Government … rather than doing the repairs to that facility what we had was an abandonment of the plans for the improvement of that centre.
“Now Rock Hall is an area that votes, I would say …, 98 per cent for the Barbados Labour Party so one is not surprised that the Democratic Labour Party did not actually do anything for the people of Rock Hall and it is the first time that I have ever known a community centre to collapse because of the lack of any input from Government in terms of the repairs,” he said.
Expect him to also speak about the condition of the roads on the platform, because he said that some of them are in dire need of repair. (DS)