Political provocation

One of the BLP trucks at last night’s meeting.
One of the BLP trucks at last night’s meeting.

A national Democratic Labour Party meeting in Orange Hill, St. James on behalf of St. Andrew candidate Irene Sandiford-Garner got hot last night when several Barbados Labour Party supporters got into the midst.

DLP supporters got “hot under the collar”, apparently stirred up early by the presence of two trucks parked near the meeting bearing red stickers promoting incumbent George Payne, a move which even the Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had a few words to say.

Within five minutes of Stuart’s arrival and in the first three minutes of his speech, police began escorting the trucks bearing red from the site, as DLP supporters were heard to say, “Dey ain’t had no right dey. Dey shudda move eva since.”

As the drivers left and the crowd started to jeer, Stuart paused from speaking about the DLP’s offering a different kind of political culture and shouted, “Tell de driver of that vehicle that de funeral is not tonight, it is next Thursday night” — to which the crowd erupted in cheers.

“You saw that act of political provocation? That is what they are about. They are realising that the current of popular support is flowing against them and they are hoping to create some kind of scene to have public opinion swing back in their favour, but let me tell you something. We are a party of the righteous, when reviled, revile me not again; when cursed we threaten not, but we commit our enemies to him that judges righteously and that is what we are doing in this campaign. So no amount of provocation will lure us into any kind of temptation. This is the Lenten season and all of us have to learn when to say, ‘Get thee behind me Satan’,” said Stuart.

Minister of Education and candidate for Christ Church East Central Ronald Jones, who had spoken earlier, had termed the actions a provocation and disrespectful.

“When I first drove in and I passed these yellow shirt-cladded individuals, I felt quite good. But then as I was moving north I saw two trucks parked right next door.

“I did not worry about them, but everybody knew that a meeting was going to be held here tonight. You see when you start a war, you don’t know how to control the end game. This is extremely disrespectful. When you play with fire you get consumed.

“Avoid this kind of rubbish in this country. At the end of the day if you wear red that’s your business. If you wear yellow or blue, that’s our business. When you put up the flag of provocation, then anything can happen.

“It is sad that a man who should know better … would set up a red flag for persons to charge at. If those trucks were in any part of Christ Church, they would be like his moses, sailing out to sea. But I don’t advocate that at all. That is a level of stupidity.”

A clearly angry Jones also alluded to the fact that Orange Hill was not the only meeting BLP supporters had tried to disrupt last night.

He said there were two meeting advertised for Six Road, St. Philip — one for the DLP and the other for the BLP. Likewise there, he said the DLP took the decision to go east to Ruby, “because there are persons who want to be wicked”.

“They can’t win this election but they want to create strife… This is perfect gerrymandering. The time must come when a parish is designated a constituency or whatever. If you want St. Andrew to be two, split it in two. If you want St. James to be split in four, split it in four.

“But there is no way under the sun that in order for a political party to win an election that you take piece of St. Peter, stick it on St. Andrew. You will take this major part of St. James, stick it on to St. Andrew in order to win an election and call it the constituency of St. Andrew. We have to confront this level of behaviour…,” he charged.

This being the constituency she hoped to represent, Sandiford-Garner made it clear that the tactics did not scare her in the least. Singling out those “wearing red”, she told them to let the incumbent know she could smile and have tea with the Governor General or get down in the gutter with her opponents when provoked.

“You can BB dat, Facebook dat, post dat,” she said as her supporters howled and cheered.

“Every general election that we had, the men who ran, ran. They ran and they left. They ran once, and that is no disrespect to the men who are here – they ran and their absence made the representative of this constituency feel he was invincible…

“And I want all of you here tonight including the members of the Barbados Labour Party who are texting, and texting rapidly, who will go on Facebook tomorrow morning with their vitriol to understand that the bully they support is not intimidating this woman here tonight.

“This St. Andrew woman has come here and I will cut him down at his knees. I took 13,098 votes from him in 2008, and ah got 43 to carry way next week, and it gone. So tek dat, BB dat. Ya gone? Ya gone? BB dat,” shouted Sandiford-Garner. (LB)

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