Ian Gooding-Edghill on perseverance, opportunity and rebuilding Barbados
Restoring Barbados to its rightful place is the driving force behind Ian Gooding-Edghill’s second political run for St Michael West Central.
Though he was defeated in the last general election, Gooding-Edghill’s spirits weren’t dampened. In fact, that defeat has been his motivation for coming back with a more forceful determination to succeed.
“I only lost by 193 votes. I knew there was the issue of money that was very heavily spent against me, but I felt that it was necessary for me to return, and get in there and work even harder because at the end of the day it’s about Barbados, it’s about the people of St Michael West Central,” Gooding-Edghill said. I took my defeat gracefully on the last occasion. But I knew what was behind it. But at the end of the day it’s absolutely necessary that I keep fighting because I’m fighting for a cause.”
For Edghill fighting for the cause of the people is something he learned from watching his grandfather who was heavily involved in public service. “He used to to run an organisation known as the Dorcas League, which used to work in the community and he really cared about people,” Gooding-Edghill said. “That was first introduction to giving back to the community and that has always inspired me.”
Now that Gooding-Edghill is heavily immersed in canvassing and working with the people of St Michael West Central, he has come to know their concerns, and the economic issues that are oppressing them and preventing them and future generations from living a better life.”
“Unemployment is severe in my constituency, it’s too high. You have a lot of middle age and younger people who cannot find jobs because the Barbados economy has not grown and continues to shrink,” Gooding-Edghill said. “The lack of natural gas is a problem because there really have not had the number of installations that should have been done for my constituency. The road infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate and that should never happen. There is a dire need in the constituency for more sports complexes and community centers.”
Gooding-Edghill feels that his work background and experience make him substantially qualified to not only address these issues, but to provide successful ways that change can be implemented. The veteran tourism executive who has worked more than two decades with Elegant Hotels, was also the chairman of the Transport Board. He credits himself as being a job creator helping to develop businesses to keep people employed and generated even more employment for other Barbadians.
“As chairman I implemented a fleet replacement policy which was meant to ensure that the Transport Board maintained a reasonable number of buses which was close to 300,” he said. “Had that policy been followed I don’t think the transport Board would be in the position it’s are in now. Had the current management maintained the fleet to the best of their ability don’t think they’d have the issues they’re currently having. Once you have the number of buses, the revenue will flow and you can keep people employed, but you need good leadership at the Transport Board.”
As someone who grew up very poor in Long Gap, Spooners Hill, Gooding-Edghill knows the constituency that he serves. He knows the fears many in his community face and he is keenly aware of the hopelessness many of them feel as to current plight of Barbados.
“The high level of taxation is demotivating people in Barbados when they go to work,” Gooding-Edghill said. “When people go to work, they work hard, they get paid and then they have to prioritise how they spend every dollar. Food is expensive because of the government’s policies and the NSRL and increased VAT, and then people have to pay water bills and everything else it is difficult for people, and I see it every day when I’m canvassing.”
According to Gooding-Edghill, where Barbados is now as a country, it cannot provide adequate opportunities for its people in terms of education and the economy.
“I refer to this general election as a battle for the soul of the country,” he said. “We have a situation where during the last ten years the Barbados economy has shrunk thereby reducing opportunities for most people. We have had 23 downgrades. People who run business in a country must pay attention to downgrades. For every downgrade you cause a potential company who might want to invest in Barbados not to come here and invest.
“People are demotivated because they can’t save and get ahead. It will take good solid leadership to take this country forward. The BLP built up a strong economy when we left power in 2008 and ten years later we’ve fallen back, but I know we can rebuild this country. We can’t continue on this path, because this is a dangerous path for all Barbadians.”
The above is a paid political broadcast sponsored by the Barbados Labour Party. The views and opinions expressed in this broadcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of the Nation.