St George North
Over the last few weeks, the constituency of St George North came into sharp focus when it was announced that Member of Parliament Gline Clarke, who has represented the area for the past 26 years, will be taking on a new assignment.
He heads to Canada to assume the position of Barbados’ High Commissioner and that has resulted in a by-election which will be held on November 11, 2020.
When Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced the date of the by-election, political parties in Barbados, old and new, were ready to hit the campaign trail.
St George North is one of two constituencies in this parish, the other being St George South.
It is one of the few constituencies in the country unwashed by the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea and remains essentially an agricultural community, but with a growing middle-income class whose beautiful homes dot its landscape.
One can trace its northern boundaries from Sweet Vale and Jericho to Applewhaites, while the southern voting bloc winds its way along Highway 4 from the Turnpike to Salters.
In the West, its districts include Neils, Lower Estate, Golden Ridge, Market Hill, Workmans, the Cottage, the Gun Hill Signal Station and St George Parish Church.
St George had varied representation, from the two major parties – the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Back in 1971 when double-member constituencies disappeared and single member ridings first made their appearance, St George North elected a DLP candidate, at a time when the DLP, under Errol Barrow, ran the country.
However, five years later when it chose a Barbados Labour Party candidate, most of the voters in the country turned to Tom Adams and the BLP. By 1986 when the political tide turned back to Barrow and the DLP, St George North led the way.
It is also a matter of record that the constituency elected a BLP candidate, Gline Clarke, who served as Minister of Public Transport in the 1994, 1999, and 2003 elections when the Bees triumphed under Owen Arthur.
While Clarke has represented the constituency for 26 years having won the mandate of the people, there were many who unsuccessfully contested the riding on a DLP ticket.
Among those who faced off against him were Antoinette Thompson, back in 1994 representing the DLP and Richard Byer of the new party at the time, the National Democratic Party (NDP). Five years later Patrick Carter was the DLP’s candidate and the following general election saw educator Desmond Browne.
Calypsonian Colin Spencer enter the political fray as a DLP candidate in the 2008 election, while Jepter Ince was that party’s choice for the next two elections.
The last general election saw other faces in the race including Everton Holligan of the United Progressive Party (UPP) and Grenville Philipps of Solutions Barbados.
The microscope will again be on this constituency come November 11 when six different representatives throw their hat in the ring to be the next representative of St George North.
They are Alex Mitchell of the Bajan Free Party, Toni Moore of the Barbados Labour Party, Floyd Reifer of the Democratic Labour Party, David Walrond of the People’s Party for Democracy and Development, Phillips, who is back in the fray for Solutions Barbados and the UPP’s Ambrose Grosvenor. (CMM)