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DLP COLUMN: Congrats, Mara Thompson

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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Congratulations to Mara Thompson. The campaign is at an end and the people of St John went to the polls and elected their new Member of Parliament on January 20. Mara Thompson emerged the humble victor. However, the people of St John were the ultimate winners. Their MP stayed away from the mud slinging, innuendos and name calling. Her delivery on the platform night after night was stellar. She spoke with conviction and a sense of purpose.
The decision of Mara Thompson to contest the by-election in St John brought out the political venom in Owen Arthur. It is as if he had a score to settle. Barbadians were alerted to the values of the man. His posture during the campaign and the team he led have left a bitter taste in the mouths of Barbadians and regional leaders.
There can be no doubt that the caring individual once portrayed as Prime Minister was exposed by his propensity to belittle persons. While we once thought it was because of the office that he acted in such a manner, and therefore could be forgiven, that was proven not to be the case. Owen Arthur the man, the politician and leader has embarrassed our country and our people. He has been unapologetic about his slant on the platform and therefore incurred the wrath of the public and his former leader.
Campaign manager Dale Marshall is on record as stating there is nothing he would have done differently upon reflection. This is a clear endorsement of what Barbadians rejected during the campaign. This by-election was a vote that sent a message to Arthur and his team about political boundary lines you don’t cross.
We understand the cut and thrust of a political campaign will from time to time have its highs and lows. However, the St John by-election was thrown into the political doldrums night after night as insults hurled from the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) platform tore away at the fabric of our being as a people. It is regrettable that the BLP’s theme on the platform of bringing hope was defined in such a manner.
We should really laud the former Opposition Leader for standing on the hallowed ground of the BLP’s platform and admonishing her current boss. Mia did everything but call his name. She came with her supporters and she left with them after she spoke.
Mia’s distancing of her delivery from that of the Labour Party’s campaign at the height of the campaign was instructive. Her very calculated tongue-lashing of Arthur sought to bring back some dignity to the delivery of their platform message.
Alas, the die had already been cast. This campaign reinforced in our minds that the gap between the Mia and Owen camps has widened. The race to the bottom in the Labour Party’s political sport is very much alive. Owen Arthur has started something he cannot finish.  He pushed the envelope, and Barbadian voters of St John spoke to him. The reduced support for the Opposition must be placed in context.
According to political analyst Peter Wickham, the Opposition failed to get out their supporters. However, we on this side know they too have rejected Arthur’s second coming. We humbly acknowledge the message out of St John. They are sick of the Opposition style of mash up and tear down and so are Barbadians. Barbadians, especially those of St John, we salute you for standing up for what is right. As a party and Government, we stand ready to continue the movement of the former Prime Minister and MP in St John, the Honourable David Thompson. Congrats, once again, to the people’s choice, Mara Thompson.
• DLP Column represents the views of the Democratic Labour Party.