St. Philip South has been neglected by the Democratic Labour Party government. Furthermore, many constituents said their elected representative, Adriel Brathwaite, has been “missing in action” for some time.
This distinct message was heard from constituents across the expansive riding when the Barbados Labour Party held a mass canvass there on Saturday (May 6, 2017) as part of their ongoing Rubbing Shoulders campaign.
Though the vast majority of residents in Gemswick, Kirtons, Ocean City, Foul Bay, St Martins and further afield were camera shy, they did not hide their disappointment at the lack of progress in every aspect of representation in St Philip South since Brathwaite’s stewardship began in 2008.
Several people who supported Brathwaite expressed regret at their decision and promised to do “the right thing” whenever the next general election is held.
Indar Weir, the dynamic BLP candidate for St Philip South, zeroed in on the impact of Brathwaite’s non-performance on constituents.
“It concerns me greatly that in this constituency we have had a high, high degree of neglect,” said Weir at the media briefing after the canvass.
Because of the lack of opportunities occasioned by this neglect, said Weir, many St Philip South constituents now lived below the poverty line.
“We have a whole set of farmers in the constituency who can do with some help, but they are not being facilitated in a manner so they can support themselves, and at the same time use it as an opportunity to provide employment by moving into commercial agriculture,” he added.
Weir stated that government has been facilitating other business endeavours across the island, including facilitating wealth at the higher level, “but down here in this constituency where people have the potential to grow, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity if only the representative for the area would have paid attention”.
Weir bemoaned the fact that though Brathwaite holds one of the most senior positions in Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s Cabinet as Attorney General, he had done little to uplift unemployed youth or skilled individuals in St Philip South.
“When people are ready to help themselves it makes representation a lot easier since all you have to do is go in there and help facilitate them,” said Weir, who assured of better days ahead for constituents under a BLP administration
The travel agency owner added that the BLP was cognizant of how important agriculture was in growing out the struggling Barbados economy and it remained one of the best ways to empower young people through entrepreneurial spirit.
Weir called on the government to start creating opportunities for poor, talented Barbadians, and not just for the wealthy.
Also speaking at the briefing was St Thomas MP Cynthia Forde. She expressed shock at the high level of unemployment among the youth in the constituency. But she assured that the BLP had taken Barbados out of the doldrums before and was ready to do so again.
Apart from Forde, Weir was supported on the mass canvass by political leader Mia Mottley, BLP chairman George Payne, MPs Jeffrey Bostic and Dwight Sutherland, candidates Sandra Husbands, Charles Griffith, Senator Wilfred Abrahams, former St Philip South representative Anthony Wood, and dozens of canvassers.