Gabby, Spencer, warn of political pitfalls
He has lived up to his name in the calypso arena.
But following his surprise announcement last Sunday that he was throwing his hat into the political ring with the intention of contesting the next general election on an Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) platform, former calypso monarch John King has been warned to prepare for a baptism of fire.
The warning has come from veteran calypsonians Gabby and Colin Spencer, who had previously tried their hands at elective politics.
Nine-time monarch Gabby did so back in 1994 when he decided to challenge the then incumbent BLP representative for the City, Billie Miller (now Dame Billie) for a seat in the House of Assembly.
Also competing in that race was Pan Africanist David Comissiong, who ran on a National Democratic Party ticket and Gordon Price, who contested as an independent.
Gabby, who attempted to transition from the calypso stage to the political arena as a candidate for the then ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP), was soundly beaten by Miller, polling 907 votes to her 1,790, with Comissiong scoring 1042 and Price, 31.
Based on that unsuccessful outing, Gabby is warning King that politics is no walk in the park.
“I tried it before and I can tell you its no easy task,” he said, emphasizing that the decision to run for politic office was a “tough” one to make.
“John has to be convinced that this is where he wants to be and put his best foot forward and go for it.
It’s a tough decision.
“Those who are not in politics do not understand the amount of work that goes into it.
“In my time I went up against two well-known [candidates] and it was tough,” said , who has since shied away from politics.
However, he described King as “a smart man” and suggested that he would do well in politics.
“I can’t tell him what to do, but regardless of politics or not he will always be my friend. Nothing won’t change that,” Gabby added.
Fellow calypsonian Colin Spencer also knows what it is like to enter the political race, having run on a DLP ticket in 2008. And like Gabby he was soundly defeated by his BLP opponent.
Spencer, who polled 1,447 to incumbent Gline Clarke’s 3,309 votes in the St George North constituency, has chosen since then to focus his energies on calypso.
Asked to comment on King’s decision to run for politics, Spencer said although King was looking to run against his party, he wished him the best of luck.
“Anyone is entitled to seek political office. I can only wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours,” Spencer said, adding that he would still be willing to give him some private advice.
“I would willingly provide any help. He’s my friend and is from the entertainment fraternity so I would offer any advice I can.
“He can seek some advice from Gabby as well,” Spencer added.
He however said King needed to be wary of the high financial costs associated with running for office.
“I hope that he is aware of the financial challenges that being competitive in elections holds. He would have to come up with a lot of money,” said Spencer, who has no intention of running again unless he is given financial assistance. “I would have to be given the money. If someone comes with 100 000 dollars, I would gladly consider it [but] not [utilizing] money that I work for,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Meantime, another veteran calypsonian said today, leave him out of the political fray.
Ten-time monarch Red Plastic Bag was responding to rampant rumours that he too could be making a run for politics.
However, when contacted by Barbados TODAY a surprised RPB said: “I really don’t know where this is coming from . . . The rumour you are hearing is not true. I have no interest whatsoever.”