Suckoo: Women could change politics
Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, the Democratic Labour Party candidate for St. George South, said she never considered entering politics until she was approached by the late Prime Minister, David Thompson, and political consultant, Hartley Henry.
Byer-Suckoo made this disclosure earlier today while speaking on the topic: “Women In Politics” at the party’s headquarters. The Minister of Labour and Social Security argued that women could change the political landscape in Barbados.
She noted that it was only when her uncles realised that she would be entering politics on the side of the Democratic labour Party that she received their blessings.†She told her audience that it was drilled into her head that the DLP was the party for the poor people of Barbados.
The medical doctor recalled that during the tenure of Sir Louis Tull, St. George South was treated as an outside child, but since she became the parliamentary representative many of her colleagues were amazed at the number of projects that had been completed.
Byer-Suckoo said the constituency had gone from being the outside child to having its siblings wondering how it got so much done, recalling that the constituency has not had a housing project since the 1960s at Ellerton, St. George.
Noting that St. George South was a big constituency with 10,000 constituents, she said she never promised her constituents that they would see her on every corner, every day.
The incumbent told her audience that she had promised her constituents that she would be accessible, and maintained that being visible in rum shops was not her idea of representation.
She stressed too that being a proper representative involved being accessible and visible when it was crunch time. She recalled that when she was thinking about entering politics some of her elderly patients asked her if she was sure about the step she was about to take.
Many of them, she said, argued that politics would spoil her because she was not cut out for it. She said she was forced to convince them that she could bring a new standard to politics.
The labour minister argued that because a woman entered politics it did not mean that she had to drink alcohol with constituents. She said that if she entered a bar invariably she was asked if she wanted a malt or other non-alcoholic beverage.
She added that women entering politics wanted to have the assurance that they did not have to lose their femininity. She acknowledged that she was a God-fearing woman and still was accountable to her pastor, adding she was a mother and was also accountable to her children.
She said that as minister of labour she was pleased that she was able to have the Employment Rights Bill enacted, and noted that the DLP had a draft Sexual Harassment Bill, something that a lot of men have not bought into.†(NC)††