BLP problem solved with Duguid’s return, say political scientists

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With the return of Dr William Duguid to Christ Church West, the death knell has been sounded on Dr Maria Agard’s political career, say political scientists Dr George Belle and Peter Wickham.

Belle, the former dean of the Faculty of Political Science at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, has also reacted to news of Dr Duguid’s re-entry into elective politics, saying it has helped the BLP to resolve in a fairly quick and easy way issues arising from Dr Agard’s “troublesome” expulsion from the Opposition party last November 22.

In making the announcement at the weekend, Dr Duguid told a press conference at Arthur Smith Primary School that he had written to the BLP’s General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott notifying him of his intention to seek the nomination as the party’s candidate to represent the Christ Church West constituency in the next general election, constitutionally due in 2018.

Dr Duguid had earlier held the seat from 2003 to 2013 before migrating to Canada with his family, and was succeeded by Dr Agard before her unceremonious removal by the Mia Mottley led National Council, which is currently the subject of litigation filed by Dr Agard.

In the meantime, Belle sees Dr Duguid’s return as doing more for the Opposition party than simply filling a gap.

“He has helped the BLP to resolve in a fairly quick way what looked like a troublesome political nuisance,” Belle told Barbados TODAY.

“I think it is positive for the BLP because it has allowed them to solve the problem in a way that is reasonable to their members and other people and certainly apparent to the members of that constituency,” he added, pointing out that Dr Duguid, was aware of the work that needed to be done in the constituency.

Asked if the time had come for Dr Agard to bow out gracefully from elective politics, the longstanding political scientist said: “As I have said from the beginning Dr Agard did not understand the realities of political life. It is clear that this is the end for Dr Agard, it was so from the beginning. Her end is not new. Once she had made those missteps she was finished.”

Wickham also saw the return of Dr Duguid as affording the BLP an early closure to the Dr Agard political chapter.

“If the BLP went this route, accepting the return of Dr Duguid, it would suggest that it was looking for an opportunity to close off the matter early. So you take a path of least resistance. That is what Dr Duguid represents essentially,” Wickham explained.

He also acknowledged that Dr Duguid was “a known quantity”; therefore Wickham said Dr Duguid’s return “is a way of avoiding dealing with a lot of controversy that had plagued the seat.

“It is not a surprising development and I wish him well,” Wickham added.

As for Dr Agard’s future in elective politics, Wickham said he remained resolute in his view that she “pretty much brought her political career to a grinding halt”.

However, when asked to comment on the comeback bid being made by another former BLP representative, Rommell Marshall, Wickham said: “I do not really know that Marshall is returning to elective politics, but certainly I do not see any reason why in the same way that other people have returned to the party why he cannot be embraced as well.

“He was a BLP candidate and a standard bearer as well. My understanding is that he left the party, he was not expelled. If former Prime Minister Owen Arthur presented himself as wanting to return to the BLP I would be equally unsurprised. Everything is possible,” Wickham added, even though St Joseph MP Dale Marshall has already spoken out publicly against the return of the former St Michael West Central MP, who he said had actively campaigned against him in the last election.

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