And if there was any doubt, this has been confirmed by the new leader of the People’s Action Movement, Mr. Shawn Richards, who stated in a radio interview on WINN FM on Tuesday that Mr. Liburd has in fact approached the party with the proposition. No decision has been made however and like any other potential candidate, Liburd would have to comply with the new requirements that the party introduced and ratified just this past weekend, at a special convention on Sunday 30th September. Those guidelines set out exactly what has to be done if an individual wishes to represent the organization at election time.
To be certain, Patches, as he is best known from his days as an entertainer and member of the famed Ellie Matt & the GI’s Brass, is very interested in running and defeating the incumbent Dr. Earl Asim Martin of the ruling Labour Party.
One supporter of Mr. Liburd has already declared that if Ian Patches Liburd succeeds in being named a political candidate to represent the opposition, to contest the East Basseterre, Constituency Number One seat, in 2015 or sooner, it is certain that he would present a formidable candidacy and could very well unseat the 4 term parliamentarian.
In an exclusive interview with MiyVue.com on Wednesday, 3rd October, Liburd said his interest is influenced by a desire to provide public service to his community.
He said there are various issues that he feels very strongly about and he has been allowed by the People’s Action Movement to share those concerns and possible solutions, during a planned town hall meeting on Wednesday night, (3rd October), at the Newtown Community Centre.
When MiyVue.com asked him what he intended to discuss at the meeting, Patches said, “I want to focus on some of the issues facing the community at present, such as the economic ills that are affecting residents.”
He explained that these are issues that “…relate to our representation. Our representation of the area is lacking. The management of the community and by extension the government is poor. I do not believe that things are being done in a proper way,” the political aspirant stated.
But it is mainly the economic situation that seems to be convincing Liburd that the time is right to step forward as a candidate for East Basseterre.
He explained, “If you look at the area, the economic issues are hurting every single person in the area. It is not discriminating. When a postman came to you in the old days, you were happy to receive a letter; now the postman comes to you, three, maybe four times a week, but only with bills. These days he is coming with a big electricity bill that people can’t control, even when you lock off your systems. You have a visit from him twice a month and all he is bringing is bad news.”
He said that one only has to look at what is happening on George Street, which once was the main area of business activity in Newtown, and it would confirm that the business climate in the area is turbulent. He said George Street was a natural extension of downtown Basseterre, but today when you look at the district; all the businesses are closing down. He cited as examples, J’s Shop N Save which he stated will be closing in a couple of weeks. Not too far away said Liburd, when one looks at CEMACO, this has been turned into a gym.
“Further up the road, Sharry is closing down. Other more established companies like RAMS and OD Brisbane are saying they can’t control their bills, because their electricity bill for example is higher than their wages,” stated Patches.
Therefore at Wednesday night’s meeting Mr. Liburd said he was hoping to use the PAM constituency meeting to focus on finding ways to improve the business climate in East Basseterre and introduce steps to lower the cost of living.
He said the traditional East Basseterre businesses like Tota’s need help and there is need to find ways to support the new and existing small businesses to compete with the Chinese.
“Could you imagine that very shortly the only thriving business on George Street will be a Chinese supermarket, which is to replace J’s Shop N’ Save. I mean these are issues we have to look at and find ways to assist them, (small local businesses), from an economic standpoint.”
“One other issue I want to focus on as well is the electoral system, which perpetrates what I call voter fraud. This hurts the chances of opposition parties getting into office. But it also hurts our chances as a community too, to get the representative that we need to elect, to advance our interests. Voter fraud hurts our entire democracy.”
For him, this is a critical matter and he wants to sensitize the community about the need to take voter fraud as a serious issue. Added Liburd, “We need to alert and educate our neighbours so that we can avoid people coming from other areas, like St. Pauls to vote in East Basseterre. We as a community must show an interest and identify the fraudsters.”
He said that if he does run, it would be driven by his willingness to serve his community. “A community, in which I was born, raised and still live. And if you see it as running in the next election, I see it as extending my service to the community in which I was born, raised and still live,” said Liburd.