Today will see last-lap campaigning for tomorrow’s record-setting by-election in St John.
Both major parties plan big final public meetings tonight, with the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) setting up in Massiah Street and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in Four Roads.
Each party has announced a long list of parliamentarians to address crowds expected to be massive.
But earlier in the day, candidates Mara Thompson, of the DLP, and Hudson Griffith, of the BLP, and their teams of canvassers will again be visiting homes and making their final bid to woo the parish’s more than 8 000 listed voters.
Both sides are predicting victory in the long-standing DLP stronghold, where the death of former Prime Minister David Thompson on October 23 of pancreatic cancer triggered the by-election.
Griffith said yesterday he was the winner “beyond the shadow of a doubt” and that the massive crowds Dems’ meetings had been attracting were not a true indication of the way the vote would go.
In the Dems camp, meanwhile, the question was not whether the woman dubbed “the Queen of St John” would win but by how large a margin.
Both Thompson, 49, and Griffith are first-timers, with Thompson seeking to create a record by being the first widow of a Prime Minister to go on to represent his constituency.
Yesterday, both groups continued their house-to-house campaigning, despite persistent rain.
Canvassing in areas including Gall Hill and Guinea. Thompson was supported by several Cabinet members, among them Minister of Transport and Works John Boyce, Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson, Minister of Health Donville Inniss and chairman of the DLP’s St John branch, Cleeton Coppin.
In the field, the 45-year-old Griffith had some backing from veteran politicians, including former Attorney General Dale Marshall.
In this by-election, each side has accused the other of ignoring the concerns of residents over many years.
Those concerns include unemployment, some bad roads, the need for more businesses to be located there and inadequate housing.
Griffith said yesterday his campaign had forced the Dems to come up with some “quick fixes” for St John, including putting up street lights and offering aid to farmers.
“In St John, there is a lot of work to be done and this is what we have been emphasising in our campaign,” he told the DAILY NATION.
Thompson has been promising a lot more help for residents, including developing entrepreneurial skills and so improving people’s ability to find employment.
The “big guns” from both parties, including Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and former Prime Minister Owen Arthur have been coming out for the nightly public meetings. (TY)