Bitter infighting mars BLP nominations
A political firestorm appears to be brewing simultaneously in at least two of the three constituencies where the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is preparing to nominate candidates this coming weekend.
Over the past week, there have been reports of serious infighting between representatives of two of the four political hopefuls in the constituency of St Michael North West.
Barbados TODAY understands that what started out as a verbal clash has ended up in threats which have been reported to police, following a heated row over voter eligibility.
However, when contacted, neither Marsha Hinds-Layne nor Neil Rowe, who are seeking to carry the BLP’s banner in the urban riding, were willing to offer a public comment on the matter.
The two other people who are due to present themselves for nomination this Sunday are former Member of Parliament for the area Mark Williams and Michael Harris.
Another former BLP representative Rommel Marshall had earlier indicated an interest in taking the fight to incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) representative Chris Sinckler, who is the country’s Minister of Finance. However, Marshall, who is the ex-parliamentarian for St Michael West Central, has since withdrawn from the race. This after St Joseph MP Dale Marshall, against whom the other Marshall had canvassed in the last election, had opposed his nomination back in February
Meantime, it is also shaping up to be a ding-dong battle in St James South this weekend, as incumbent candidate Sandra Husbands, who lost to the DLP’s Donville Inniss in 2013, prepares to face off against newcomer Ronnie Yearwood.
Today, Husbands took to the local airwaves to defend her stewardship in the constituency, while describing her opponent as an outsider, who was looking to “come in at the last minute” with the hope of taking advantage of a possible snap election announcement.
Husbands further suggested that Yearwood was not qualified to represent the area, since he was not even resident in Barbados.
“Our best chance in St James South is with the person who has been there to build the political currency, political relationship, social relationship at the various boxes and has put the time in. That is energy that we have to build on to do even better in the upcoming election,” said Husbands, who lost to Inniss in the last election, despite a swing away from the ruling DLP.
In response, Yearwood accused Husbands of levelling personal attacks, which he said amounted to “an act of desperation” from someone “void of substance”.
“Let me first say that we have to practise a new type of politics in this country. It starts with basically having the competence to fact check in order to understand your opponent and yourself, to issue correct information. My opponent has apparently issued information that I am in Trinidad, but the last time I checked I am in Barbados,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“Apparently she also said that I haven’t completed law school and that I should spend eight months more completing my law degree and that I am not a practising lawyer. I don’t know how I could have practised law in London in last five years without going to law school or without having passed the requisite standards to do so,” countered Yearwood.
“If you are going to be a candidate for a party you must have competence to get the facts straight before you start issuing statements about your opponent. It means you are desperate enough to think that is what is needed to win and that is not the situation we ought to be in,” he argued.
However, Yearwood was prepared to take the challenges as they come. He drew a comparison between his current political fight and the one which is currently being waged for the presidency of the United States.
“I think it is good for the party and it is healthy to have internal debates. If you look at what is going on in the US election this pales in comparison. So just because my opponent thinks it necessary to engage in this way and question even what I would think is my ‘Barbadianess’ and my right to stand as candidate, is not a road I am prepared to go down,” he stressed.
The third BLP nomination this weekend is set for St John.