Democratic National Alliance declares stance on campaign financing

MP Joanne Massiah

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) – Antigua & Barbuda’s newest political party – has used its launch to declare that it will not go cap in hand to the well-known wealthy political financiers for its campaigns.

Leader of the DNA and Member of Parliament (MP) Joanne Massiah said the DNA will rely on the support of its membership and “the ordinary man and woman of Antigua to finance our party”.

The MP and a number of the DNA’s founding members — Anthony Stuart, Gatesworth James and Angela Payne – made the declaration at yesterday’s long-awaited launch of the party.

“We do not subscribe to all that is involved in what has become known as money politics. Where will our money come from? The few cents we have come from the people … one, one full basket,” Massiah declared.

She added that, the often-debated topic of campaign finance reform was “something [the DNA] holds dear” in addition to “comprehensive constitutional reform”.

Former Senator Anthony Stuart added to the point. He declared that, “no one or two individuals should give all the money and dominate”, and added: “We are all adamant that nobody is going to have any sway over this political organisation.”

Both Stuart and Massiah spoke of frugal campaigning that would not waste funds on the purchase of paraphernalia which the MP rubbished as “a significant waste of money” that could “be better invested in communities where people directly benefit”.

The declarations were made in response to one of many questions which the audience of nearly 100 people shot at the DNA members during yesterday morning’s launch at the Multipurpose Cultural Centre.

Massiah – who represents All Saints East & St Luke – and her promises of a party of “ideas and not one of personalities” appears to have already garnered followers from a number of constituencies other than her own.

One middle-aged woman who identified herself as a constituent of St Mary’s South told OBSERVER media that the programme and pledges outlined by the DNA were “new and refreshing as Miss Massiah said”.

A section of the crowd that attended the launch of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) on Tuesday. (OBSERVER media photos)

(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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