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This is not a joke thing

Veteran calypsonian John King knows his nomination as the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate in St Philip West is not a foregone conclusion.

King must defeat two other interested persons before he gets his wish to challenge the incumbent Dr David Estwick of the governing Democratic Party for the seat in the next general election.

But he said whatever happens he is in it for the long haul and he would no longer sit idly by and let issues such as rising crime go without adding his voice to the debate.

“I think that for me  . . . regardless of if I get the nomination or not . . . I cannot sit down and be silent and pretend that this is just a great life,” the two-time monarch told Barbados TODAY in an exclusive interview.

“Yes we have a wonderful country, yes we have always have competent Governments, yes good education and all of that, but we are at a juncture now where we need more than just that; we need more than talk, we need action. We need people with vision to see down the road and map åout something that we can aspire towards.”

King was introduced as a possible candidate last weekend, to the surprise of many, including his calypso colleagues.

However, he said people ought not be surprised since it was no secret that he has had an interest in politics.

“It is one of the things that I have always thought was a way in which I could make a significant contribution to the island. Everything that I would have accomplished in life I owe to being raised here in Barbados [and] I have always had this burning desire to give back something in a substantial way.

“Music is one thing but if you want to make a contribution that really impacts on people’s lives, that can change things for the better, then I think this is one of the ways and so I chose this path,” he explained.

The veteran entertainer is currently employed as a supervisor of the Government Industrial School, which means if he secures the nomination he will effectively be taking on his employer.

However, he said he was not at all uncomfortable with this, and this was the least of his worries.

“I am a very confident person in my abilities to rise above anything that I encounter, any challenges that I face in my life. You have your ups and you downs. If it comes to that stage where because I may support a different political party . . . I think if this is the only route that you can take to get somebody to listen . . . this is the route that I have to go,” he said.

King said “a burning desire to give back” propelled him to swap stages from calypso to politics and that in any event the political landscape has been littered with professionals such as doctors and lawyers for much too long and it was time for something different.

“I am saying that the time has come where politics must reflect a wider and much [more] varied views coming into it and so this is just
for me another step in that evolution which really needs to take place,” he told
Barbados TODAY.

A popular entertainer both here and aboard, King lamented that Barbados was going through “unchartered waters” and that too many people were worried and afraid. He added that the country needed a different kind of leadership.

“There needs to be dialogue, we need to be able to reassure people that together we can weather this storm. We have weathered all sorts of things in the past but if every time you have people raising a concern and we have to be flinging off our hands carrying on and making everything out [to be] just political talk,” King observed.

“These are real problems that people are having and there are real people that are suffering. It is not a joke,” he maintained. “It is not a joke.”

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