St. Michael S-E race still on

Patrick Tannis

by Donna Sealy

The race to see who would win Democratic Labour Party’s vote to contest the St. Micheal South-East is still ongoing.

Two of the three prospective candidates told Barbados TODAY they were waiting to hear from party officials, but hometown boy and Chairman of the Constituency Council, Patrick Tannis, said “there is correspondence but at the right time, if you’re speaking about the nomination for St. Michael South-East, the party will release that information” .

The “banker and Christian” said he was asked to contest the suburban seat for the ruling party now that incumbent Hamilton Lashley has signal his intention to retire and noted that he was a “grassroots fella from the area” who was bring “many things” to the constituency.

“The area needs a spiritual renewal and certainly I would be bringing a Christian perspective to that which would make it good for all people. My perspective is that all men and women are equal and there’s no room for disadvantage for anyone.

“I think the days that we’re in require that all people have access and that’s what I’m going to be making sure that we do. We want to make sure that all the skills of all the persons in the area allow those skills to benefit the people of the area and the wider community. I believe we’re sitting on a gold mine of talent up there,” he said.

Tannis said there are things that he had started already and things that would be ongoing. He further said the people in the area knew him because he is the chairman of the council as well as the president of the basketball club for the Wildey area.

His opponent, teacher and trade unionist Pedro Shepherd, is ready to serve.

The executive member of the Barbados Union of Teachers, sees teaching at Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School as a plus for him as he seeks to carry the party’s baton in the next General Election.

This was not his first attempt to carry the party’s banner, he told Barbados TODAY, and noted that he had expressed an interest in 2008 but the party had gone ahead with Undene Whittaker who went up against Lashley and lost.

“I stuck around for the four, five years and decided to come in 2012. If I’m not given the nod in 2012, I was told I’m still young so I will come back in another five and another 10 years but I’m not giving up. I’m bringing a political background to the constituency, I serve on the executive of the St. Philip North branch… People were asking me [about that constituency] but I think that I have a better chance in St. Michael South-East.

“Having taught there I believe I have a base already because they’re persons I would have taught who would have certainly passed voter age and some of whom have children and … I can go appeal to them for a vote.

“There are two others who are already in the constituency doing work, I am the only one not in the constituency doing work because I’m allowing the process to take it’s natural course. . . . I’m waiting for the party to make it’s decision as to who would, in their opinion, they think would be the best person to represent the Democratic Labour Party in the constituency,” he said.

For Shepherd it is about offering the people “the kind of representation that they deserve” and he intends to look at issues such as roads, housing, education, unemployment.

What hotelier Hal Martin made clear in an interview with Barbados TODAY was that he is not seeking to run on a Democratic Labour Party ticket at all costs.

He said it’s St. Michael South-East or nothing having had lost his attempt to run in St. Thomas.

“I have a tremendous amount of family in the Pine and people may not know this but my grandfather, who was a builder … did a lot of work in the Pine. Furthermore, I had adopted the Pine/Wildey Sports Academy for the last two or three years, I was working with the youngsters before the political think came up.

Martin said he too was asked to run for the DLP and had been out canvassing.

“The response has been very positive because the average individual don’t want a hand-out but teach them how to fish so that they can feed themselves for a lifetime so they’ve been very enthusiastic and very responsive,” he added.

His message is one of economic reformation and he would like to see the people become economic entrepreneurs because “everyone cannot work in Government” and simply had to help themselves.

“It does two things, it gives hope to the youth because now they’re self-empowering themselves but they’re doing it illegally through drugs and other illegal contraband. Why not replace it with something legal, they already have the know how and the technique. Secondly it improves the community and then by extension improve Barbados,” Martin said.

He said he was waiting to hear from the party on whether his bid was successful.

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