Fish vendor “Forever Young” contended that politicians only came around when they wanted a vote and so she resolved not to give hers to anyone. (Picture by SDB Media)
The people in St James Central don’t want their next parliamentary representative to have any doubts about their necessities.
Many recently indicated if they did vote on election day it would be for the person they felt could best deliver on youth employment, garbage collections, post-secondary school programmes, improved road infrastructure and most importantly more regular interaction with them.
Incumbent Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Kerrie Symmonds will go up against first-time candidate George Connolly of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), former BLP candidate now representing the United Progressive Party (UPP) Wendell Callender and Daniel Chalbaud of Solutions Barbados.
According to data provided by the Electoral Boundaries Commission, 59.2 per cent (4 628) of the eligible 7 815 cast their votes. This was down from 61.07 per cent in 2008.
In Arch Hall, St Thomas, 20-year-old Leslie-ann Griffith, who is eligible to vote for the first time, said she would not do so because she felt politicians could not be trusted.
Her mother Barbara Reid was not sure whether she would vote, but was quite certain that for too long under both the DLP and BLP, she and others in the community suffered under the stench of the garbage dump called “Mount Stinkaroo” and they were at their wits’ end. She said it was affecting her health and it was not as well maintained as before.
“Now they dump a lot of things up there and they have illegal dumping up there, so I don’t know. If they can get the watchman to catch some of the illegal dumpers it would be good. If it can’t be moved, handle it properly. That’s all I can say,” Reid lamented.
In Bagatelle Housing Area, Jamal, 31, said all you got at election time was promises.
“Them ain’t no help to me because I does barely see people when election come around. For all my life I didn’t expect nothing from them. I survived 31 years. I vote already, a couple times but as I show you, it don’t benefit me, it just benefit them. So I tell myself I done with that there.”
“Bandit” from Redman’s Village blamed the ruling DLP and said if he voted, that party would not get his “X”. He wanted to see more youth employed and better scheduled garbage collection in his community. He also lamented the delay in calling the election date.
“As man, we know they had a little trouble when they first come in because of the financial crisis that the country went through but things should be better. A lot better,” Bandit said.
On the coast road in Payne’s Bay, fish vendor “Forever Young” also hinted that she would be sitting out the looming elections whenever Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced the date.
A more pressing issue was the pedestrian crossing situated directly opposite the Payne’s Bay Fish Market. She said residents had been pleading for a traffic light or street light and to have the crossing repainted because at night it was very dangerous for both pedestrians and drivers.
“That ain’t a want, that is a need. They gine wait till a tourist get hit then to do something. They ain’t care if the locals get hit or dead – just tourists. Many times nuff of them nearly get eat there.”
In Hoyte’s Village, just a short distance from Symmonds’ constituency office, “Liz” voiced her frustrations with the traditional political parties, which she charged had forgotten, or were uncaring of the needs of the youth in her community. This was why she was willing to throw her support behind the new political groupings.
“I want a different government all together though. I want somebody new. Let me see what this body could do ’cause all of them had their chances and them ain’t do nothing. I want somebody new. I want a new party,” she said.
In Sunset Crest, many people were mum, but one voter, who didn’t give his name, simply wished everyone the best, and hoped for progress for the entire country.
During a stop in Greenwich Village, which accounted for one of seven boxes Symmonds won in 2013, residents there were highly critical of the DLP’s tenure.
Retiree Frederick Francis, 63, a professed long-time BLP supporter, was disappointed that civil servants had not received a pay raise in many years, andhe was angry that they were instead ”burdened” by the introduction of the National Social Responsibility Levy, high cost of living and deteriorated roads. (SDB Media)