UNC candidate for Diego Martin West Marsha Walker is taking on the Prime Minister in a contest for a seat he has held for 29 years.
And she has already found herself in the firing range.
On Friday, Rowley lashed out at her as they filed their nomination papers in Pt Cumana, saying she had slandered him. Hours later he criticised her again on his Facebook page, saying he was a victim of her “self-serving disrespect.”
He added a video clip of her at a UNC (United National Congress) Monday Night Forum saying Rowley had grabbed the hand of her daughter at an edition of Conversations with the Prime Minister, a series of public meetings the PM had held.
“What angers me with her dishonesty,” he wrote, “is that she anchored it in the (Opposition member Roodal) Moonilal failed strategy of accusing me of paedophilia.”
Walker told Sunday Newsday she had not seen Rowley’s post. “I’m very sorry. I was busy taking care of his constituents.”
Even as she campaigned on Saturday, along the Western Main Road, Carenage, she felt she was put at a disadvantage when Police Commissioner Gary Griffith stopped her music trucks and entourage but allowed People’s National Movement (PNM) supporters to go by.
She said the only reason the PNM truck was also stopped was because she and her team argued the point.
She said the CoP “shut her down” even after she had permission from the police to use a music truck on her walkabout. Even as she showed him the receipt, and although it was the third weekend her team had used the truck, Griffith told her she needed permission directly from him. She claimed Griffith, with whom she used to play hockey, threatened to arrest her, but she was not cowed because she intended to fight against oppression and unfairness
“It doesn’t matter whether we’re friends or not. Respect the position.”
People first took notice of Walker when she was endorsed by her friend the cricketer Dwayne Bravo.
In a video posted on Facebook on July 2, Bravo said, “I want to say congratulations to my friend Marsha Walker for being appointed to represent UNC. For me, I have no political affiliation to anyone. But I have known Marsha for quite some time now, about ten years. She’s someone that I’d definitely would love to give that 100 per cent support.”
In a Facebook post on July 15 Walker responded to those who called her a neophyte in politics and asked what she had ever done for people. She said she had been quietly helping people for years with no fanfare. “When Jack Warner’s son had containers of rotting meat opposite Baba’s on the Bay. I made the calls. That was ten plus years ago. I did it quietly. Asked for nothing. Politics was far from my mind.” The son of Jack Warner (Independent Liberal Party leader) in question was Daryan Warner. He took umbrage at the post and on his own Facebook page. asked why she had mentioned his father’s name rather than his.
He said, “At the time in question Marsha slept more nights at my house than she did in Carenage. If there was ever a problem that warranted either intervention by the authorities or to be used (as) political mileage, she merely had to roll a few inches away to discuss same...I guess she is now officially a politician.”
Speaking to a Newsday reporter about the situation, Walker said if a man had been running against the PM, her previous relationships would not have been an issue. She asked women “not to support misogyny” being disguised as political campaigning.
“It’s unfortunate that relationships I had 15 years ago have become part of the conversation as to my suitability to serve the people of Diego Martin West. In fact this is precisely why we see so few women offering themselves in the political arena and the only people that are losing out because of this are the citizens.”