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Gloria Shillingford
Gloria Shillingford

The Dominica Labour Party (DLP) is expected to announce soon that Gloria "Teacher Glo" Shillingford will not contest the next general election as a DLP candidate in Wesley. The current member of parliament and Minister of Community Development has confirmed to the SUN that she has been replaced as the DLP candidate for Wesley.

However, the decision is being criticised by some members of the Wesley constituency who contend that the DLP was "disrespectful" to Teacher Glo and have vowed to protest.

"The people of the Wesley constituency are not happy with the way Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has thrown Athenia Benjamin down on us. They tried that with us in 2009 and we opposed it and they are coming back with the same thing this time around and we will again oppose it," a member of the DLP Wesley constituency disclosed to the SUN.

According to the member who also sits at DLP meetings in the Wesley constituency and who spoke to the Sun on condition of anonymity, "The PM is disrespectful to us Labourites in that constituency and we will have none of it. Teacher Glo has been treated with no respect. The woman (Athenia) has been living in Canada for the past 32 years and it seems that every time when an election is called or is about to be held, she appears to cause problems and disunity in our Wesley Labour camp saying she is going to be the Labour candidate.

"She have people disgruntled and is not liked in the constituency…she is just pushing herself and wants to impose herself on us which creates a real disturbance in the constituency.

"We have been told to be ready and prepared for the election but that situation is not helping us. We don't want this woman and we will protest because Teacher Glo is the one who has been with us through the rough times and we will stick with her," the Wesley resident stated.

He said Teacher Glo was "asked to step aside for her (Athenia) but that is against our wishes. We even learnt that they have promised her an ambassadorial post just for her to step aside but that is not going down well at all with her."

When contacted, Shillingford confirmed that she had been replaced and will not be the DLP candidate for the upcoming general elections but refused to elaborate further even when pressed.

"I am not ready to make any statement on the matter. We will work it all out. People can say whatever they have to say but when we clear out all what we have to do I will make a statement. However, I can confirm to you, that I will not be the candidate for the DLP in the upcoming elections and that's a fact…presently, I have nothing to say to the media on the matter," she said.

Efforts to reach Benjamin have been unsuccessful.

Political observers say the rationale for DLP's decision in the selection of a new candidate for Wesley is obvious. Shillingford is reportedly losing ground to the UWP's candidate, Ezekiel Basil, and so the DLP is prepared to experiment with a new candidate. Additionally, Shillingford narrowly defeated Basil in the 2009 general elections, by 75 votes. (Shillingford- 809 votes; Basil- 734). And the UWP, through Peter Carbon, won Wesley in 2005 (UWP- 866 votes; DLP-773) and in 2000 (UWP-933; DLP-707).


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