Atherley's former seat up for grabs
(Left) Christopher Gibbs and (right) Steven Leslie
The constituents of St. Michael West will soon have new representation under the Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
The seat has been vacant for almost a year after Reverend Joseph Atherley announced he will be taking the reins as Leader of the Opposition after the May 24 General Elections.
The two nominees, businessman, Christopher Gibbs and Director of Cricket at the Barbados Cricket Association, Steven Leslie spoke to the media on the sidelines of a branch meeting on Sunday night.
Leslie said the decision to contest the position came naturally as he has been involved with the party since 1997. He currently serves as the branch secretary.
“After the bold move that was taken back in 2018 where, within a few hours, there was an Opposition Leader, I think the timing is correct for representation. St. Michael West needs representation that will be honest with them, trustworthy and transparent. I believe we have a leader in Mia Amor Mottley, who wants us to stay the course."
He pinpointed a number of pressing issues including timely garbage collection, transportation and the effect of the BERT program on members of the constituency as those which need immediate attention.
“Those are the bread and butter issues I want to deal with and I believe the timing is right to give St. Michael West that type of representation.”
Gibbs told reporters his family has always been involved in politics behind the scenes and he intends to carry on the legacy, this time leading from the front.
Commenting on the feelings of hopelessness expressed by constituents during the branch meeting, Gibbs said the lack of representation has left residents feeling as though there is no one to turn to for help.
“It is a shame that the people feel that way but it is real because I have walked around the constituency and heard that 99 percent of the time. They feel lost, as though they are not getting their calls answered and they want help because there is poverty and joblessness in the constituency.”
He revealed he has conducted a number of community development initiatives including feeding and clean-up programs in Prescod Bottom and Skeete’s Road and he plans to continue by rolling out an internship program, noting the need for more involvement by corporate Barbados to help the constituents.
As Chairman of the St. Leonard’s School, Gibbs said the goal is to utilize the school as the base for the internship program.
“I feel strongly about these things and when you see the country in trouble, we should all answer the call.”