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No snub to MP Toppin

Ezra Stuart

No snub to MP Toppin

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IT WASN’T a political snub!
Tournament coordinator of the inaugural David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils’ Classic, Hamilton Lashley has moved swiftly to dispel the perception that long-serving parliamentary representative Ronald Toppin was  snubbed on Friday night when two matches were played in the St Michael North constituency.
Toppin, who has won the riding for the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in every election since 1994, was present at the Eden Lodge playing field but the man he defeated in the January 2008, general elections, Francis Depeiza, was given the honour of meeting and greeting the teams in the night-cap feature match.
Prior to the start of that game between St Michael North and St George North, Toppin, dressed in a bright red shirt, was seen chatting with long-standing football administrator Randy Harris and mingling with some of the St Michael North footballers and spectators.
Ironically, Harris, who was also spotted in conversation with Depeiza later during the night, is one of the organizers of the rival LIME Pelican Challenge, along with former Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, who was Deputy Prime Minister in the last Barbados Labour Party administration.
“We are trying as far as possible to steer clear against that political divide. This is a community-based tournament. The host councils determine the person that will meet and greet the teams,” Lashley said when the SUNDAY SUN sought clarification on why Toppin was bypassed.
 “It’s a judgment call. There is no prior invitation and out of courtesy, the greeting is usually done by the most prominent person present, the chairman or a member of the constituency council which is hosting the matches,” he pointed out.
Toppin has spoken out in the Lower House against the establishment of the constituency councils, which fall under the umbrella of the Ministry of Social Care and Constituency Empowerment and Community Development.
Pastor Patrick Tannis, the chairman of the St Michael South East Constituency Council, greeted the teams for the first match.
Lashley was not present at Eden Lodge but had travelled to St Andrew for the double header at Belleplaine where Senator, Irene Sandiford-Garner, the losing DLP candidate in the last general election, met the teams playing in the last match.
Minister of Labour, Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo was also on hand at Belleplaine where her St George South constituency lost 2-3 to St Andrew.
It is understood that long-standing Parliamentary representative for the rural St Andrew riding George Payne, wasn’t present.
Last Wednesday, Minister of Health Donville Inniss also met the teams for the second game when a double-header was staged at the Haynesville playing field in the St James South constituency, which he represents in Parliament.
Lashley and Peter Skeete, a member of the St James South constituency council, had met players for the first game, while other politicians from the ruling party have met teams in other matches.
No sitting BLP parliamentarian has been afforded the privilege so far.

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