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A vote for Dr Romel Springer to represent the constituency of St. Andrew is a vote for a genuine first responder who cares.

The Barbados Labour Party candidate for the rural constituency spelt out his record of looking after residents over the years tonight as he addressed the party’s virtual mass meeting at which he was formally introduced to the country.

The “Orange Hill boy”, who spoke of his early years of struggle as a student of the Alexandra School, which he left with a single CXC certificate, and then his first job working with crews debushing the sides of the road, stressed that he entered politics because he “chose to care” for others.

He recalled how the words of veteran teacher Leslie Lett motivated him to return to school in the evening, to become a teacher and eventually to be able to motivate other struggling youth to see education as a path to a better future.

This background, he said, explains why he was absolutely appalled when the Democratic Labour Party imposed tuition fees on Barbadians attending the University of the West Indies. Dr Springer noted that when the Dems took that decision, he was a young lecturer at the university teaching a class of 52 students, and the roll immediately dropped to about a dozen, half of whom were foreign nationals.

“Now they would like you to forget, when you are still … struggling to repay the loans you had to take out to continue your education,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of a Government that sees the value of our young people.”

While his most rewarding job has been teaching, Dr Springer told his audience that included constituents watching his presentation at satellite sites at Hillaby, Belleplaine and Orange Hill, that he has welcomed the considerable time spent in recent years as a first responder to residents of the parish.

“Whatever the issue, they can tell you Rommel was always there,” he said, noting that when COVID first struck and many were afraid to reach out to others, he was there.

“I had to choose between fear and care. I chose to care, and the people of St. Andrew know that.”

When the island was covered with volcanic ash from St. Vincent, he was all over the community lending assistance, he added.

“When the freak storm mash up St. Andrew — Hillaby and White Hill — I showed up, and not with empty hands… I brought resources…

“Two weeks later we got hit by Elsa and it mash up Chalky Mount and Belleplaine, I was there,” Springer said.

Today, he added, most of those houses have been repaired or replaced.

“Nothing turns me back — not fear, not fatigue,” Springer stressed.

The future, he added, will include programmes aimed at developing the youth of the constituency, providing further assistance to spur small business development, and the revitalisation of sports in the various communities.

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