Former Barbados batsman and West Indies captain, Floyd Reifer said he plans to contest the next general elections in Barbados, possibly putting his career as an international cricket coach on hold.
Reifer was one of five losing candidates in a by-election on Tuesday for a vacant seat in the House of Assembly to represent the rural St. George North electoral district.
Toni Moore, the current general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, the island’s largest trade union, polled 3,154 votes to win the by-election for the governing Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and become the first woman to represent the electoral district.
Reifer gained 1,327 votes to finish runner-up and was seeking to become the lone member in the House from the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), the second oldest political party in the island, after they failed to win a single seat in the 30-member assembly in the 2018 general elections.
“I will be here again,” Reifer told reporters following the announcement of the by-election result. “For the general elections, I will come back stronger. When a man is down, it shows his true character and I am a lion. I said that in the campaign. I am a strong lion and I will be back.”
He said: “The people have spoken. In an election, someone has to win, and someone has to lose. I have learnt a lot through this election. I want to congratulate Ms. Moore on winning. It was a very intense campaign for both of us, but the people made their choice. I wish her well.”
Reifer, who hails and still lives in the electoral district, said his greatest disappointment was failing to win in the polling districts in and around his neighbourhood.
“The most disappointing thing for me is not winning in my backyard,” he said. “We failed to win the boxes in which the party is strong, but when you look at the stats, a lot of people still did not come out and vote.
“That is something that is disheartening for us. It was an opportunity for the DLP to gain a seat in the House of Assembly and an opportunity for us to have a voice.”
He said: “That’s something we will have to delve into in terms of why people did not come out and vote. The public may be still upset about what has happened in the past, but I don’t know why.
“People may be fed up with the politics. People may be fed up with all the unfulfilled promises. They are a lot of reasons why and for the general elections in the next year or two, we will be trying to find out why.”
Moore replaces long-serving representative Gline Clarke. He was the incumbent for the past 26 years, but he stepped down last month and will now take up a diplomatic post in Canada.
The result meant that the BLP, under the leadership of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, maintains its supermajority in the House of 29-1.
The outcome of the by-election was a major disappointment for candidates from a number of fledgeling parties, none of whom polled more than 100 votes.