Political scientists have high hopes for Jordan in St Peter
It’s a foregone conclusion.
That’s how two leading political scientists today reacted to news of tourism consultant Colin Jordan’s election unopposed as the Barbados Labour Party’s candidate for St Peter.
In fact, with general elections not constitutionally due for another three or so years, both Peter Wickham and Dr George Belle are already calling the St Peter seat for the Opposition.
“I think it is a no-brainer, quite frankly,” said Peter Wickham who told Barbados TODAY he expects Jordan to carry the banner well in the constituency, long regarded as a BLP stronghold.
And based on what he sees as the current level of swing away from the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) he said there was no stopping Jordan’s ascendency in the northern riding.
“I think the national environment is one in which there clearly will be a swing towards the Barbados Labour Party that will also help Colin Jordan and the most important point is that the Democratic Labour Party hasn’t really demonstrated a lot of interest in St Peter,” said Wickham, who also based his position on recent comments made by Haynesley Benn, the former DLP candidate for the area, who is currently this island’s Consul General to Canada.
“I think it has become quite clear that the DLP has really not taken St Peter quite seriously, they have essentially sent a candidate who has done very well in St Peter off to Canada and it is difficult to see how he could make a serious case for that seat in Canada,” he added.
His former University of the West Indies colleague Dr George Belle has also been seeing signs of a swing away from the Government, which he contends has not performed well and therefore will not present a formidable challenge to the BLP in the St Peter seat.
“I am expecting a swing that would be going against the Government and therefore the stronghold would be strengthened and not diminished. There would have to be something that is very negative that is happening against the Barbados Labour Party that would prevent a swing against this current regime,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Dr Belle also commented on Owen Arthur’s abrupt exit from the BLP back in July, saying he didn’t “see any particular weight in what had happened” since then.
However, Wickham said the tourism executive should be given credit for being able to get the support of both Arthur and the current leader of the BLP Mia Mottley.
“I think it speaks volumes about the individual and his candidacy and I think it’s good for the BLP that it has been able to produce a candidate that can straddle both interests and it kind of makes it clear there is a level of unity existing in the organisation.”
Wickham also dismissed as a “non issue”, the fact that Jordan was not a card-carrying member of the BLP when he was named as the BLP’s caretaker for the constituency back in August.
“I think that many people become members of a political party at a point in time when they are intending to seek office. If you look on the other side you might be surprised that they are senior members within Cabinet that are not members of the DLP or they only joined very recently. So that to me is a non issue. It is not as big a deal as people think.”
He, however, believes the nomination further clears the way for Mottley to stamp her authority on the leadership of the party, post Arthur, as he stressed that the Opposition must focus on consolidating its leadership.
“It has to consolidate, it needs to project unity and it need to project a serious assault on the Democratic Labour Party and the policies that are clearly unpopular,” Wickham stressed.