Beckles declares his political hand
It has recently been rumoured that he has designs on the Prime Minister’s seat.
And today trade unionist Asokore Beckles officially confirmed in an interview with Barbados TODAY that he was in the running to become the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for St Michael South in the next general election.
That nomination exercise is scheduled for Sunday, June 26, the day Beckles turns 32, and he expects that he will get the birthday present that he most desires.
“Before I decided that I was going to become a candidate for the constituency, I walked, I talked, I limed, I spoke, I laughed and I cried with the people in the constituency. I went to find out what are their issues. Do you need greater representation from someone different or are you happy? . . . and I realized that they need real representation,” he told Barbados TODAY of the situation in St Michael South, which is represented in Parliament by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
“There are many areas that have not seen the Prime Minister in God knows how long. Some people say they have never seen him . . . and it has come now to a head where they say they have had enough,” he added.
The Government economist, who is employed in the Statistical Services Department, warned that fixing up a few roads would not solve this issue, adding that now was a “prime time” to bring a fresh candidate to the area that could “withstand the test of time” and “be in that constituency for 20 to 40 years”.
The BLP aspirant, who is scheduled to go up against community worker Kirk Humphrey in Sunday’s BLP nomination exercise, said while he wished Humphrey well he felt his chances were better of securing the Opposition nomination since he had been on the ground longer.
“I’ve been looking and listening and being with the people longer. I have also helped the community, I have held multiple community programmes, I have sponsored a football tournament, a road tennis tournament, a kid’s fun day.
“Before I even asked the people for a vote, unlike most politicians, I started to work with people and assist them,” he said, pointing out that he had also assisted fire victims and persons in need of legal and other representation.
And in response to recent comments by the Prime Minister that he was energized and prepared to go on, Beckles, who is the Treasurer of the National Union of Public Workers, said with a smile: “I hope he is, because he is in for a strong battle.”
He said even if he loses his first political outing, he was prepared to be in politics for the long haul.
“I am young. I am going to be 32 years on Sunday, so I have time on my side. I have lost many things in my life, but failure only makes you stronger and I will not give up,” he told Barbados TODAY, adding that his ultimate goal was not to become a Cabinet minister in any future administration, but to represent the interests of the people.
Beckles said apart from jobs, there was a need for unity in St Michael South, which he sees as a divided community.
Asked about the perceived conflict between his current roles as a Government worker and a potential candidate for the BLP, Beckles assured that he was a “professional” and did not mix matters.
He also rejected suggestions that his role as NUPW Treasurer was now compromised saying, politics for him was the ultimate in representation of the people.