Atherley: Dems running on sentiment
Late Prime Ministers Errol Barrow and David Thompson have failed St John and left no mark on the parish despite holding the most powerful office in the land, says former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) member of Parliament Joseph Atherley.
He was speaking on behalf of BLP?St John by-election candidate Hudson Griffith at a meeting in Massiah Street on Wednesday night.
Atherley said the platform of the Democratic Labour Party in this election did not have anything to do with the party’s stewardship in St John over the past five decades.
“What are the monuments that stand in testament to 23 years of representation by Thompson and what are the monuments that stand as testament to the representation of Errol Barrow in this constituency?”?he asked.
Atherley said that most of what had been done on an infrastructural level in the parish had been achieved by the BLP.
He said the Dems had come to the people of St John on sentiment centred on the mystique of Barrow, on the terminal illness of Thompson and the bereavement circumstances of widow Mara.
The former MP for St Michael West said there was something that was natural and heartfelt about Griffith that was lacking from the Dems’ candidate Mara Thompson.
“Hudson Griffith never seems to be rehearsed. He is not mechanical in what he says in his utterances. When he stands to speak, he seems to be speaking from the heart. It is obvious that no one has told him what to say; it is obvious that no one has written his speech for him, as is happening on the other side.
“When it is not genuine, when it is not in the heart, people must tell you what to say,” Atherley said.
While noting that Mara Thompson was heavily favoured to win, Atherley reminded the audience that his victory over long-standing incumbent Branford Taitt in the 1999 poll was proof that Everest could be scaled in spite of all odds.
“I?had to persuade the leadership of the Barbados Labour Party that Branford Taitt could be taken down and the tall mountain of St Michael West could be scaled by the Barbados Labour Party. This high mountain in St John can also be scaled.
“Take courage, take the people’s cause to heart and press on with the fight. I believe with all my heart that it is possible.”
Atherley said he was surprised to hear from Health Minister Donville Inniss an announcement of the restart of work at the St John Polyclinic when there was no provision in the Estimates for it in this financial year. It may be that on March 15, they will send a crew from the [National Conservation Commission] up by the site of the polyclinic to clear some bush.
That is the start that perhaps will be made,” he said.
He added that the Government had a track record of broken promises and of mentioning dates for the sake of doing so.
“This is a broken Government that practises broken promises. Do you remember the promises in their manifesto to the civil servants, to the police, to the school teachers, to the nurses, of all the benefits that would come their way if they were elected on January 15, 2008? What has happened in the wake of those promises?” he asked. (MK)