A battle for the seat in Rural East, accusations fly

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One of the people who want to contest the seat for the labour party in St. John’s Rural East is accusing the branch executive of actions that “reek of procedural irregularity” and which “are utterly unconstitutional” when it chose, over all others, Maria Bird-Browne as the candidate.
Alincia Williams-Grant, an attorney and Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) Senator, is the one making the allegations, after she learned that Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s wife had been recommended as the candidate.
In a three-page letter dated December 7, to Claudette Mason, the chairman of the Rural East branch office, Williams-Grant said the decision was unfair and it wronged all the constituents and other political hopefuls who never got a chance.
“I write consequent to the meeting that you invited me to attend at 6 p.m. on Wednesday 6th December 2017…present at this meeting with you were the Branch Deputy Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, Women Development Officer and I,” the author began.
She added that in the meeting, she was advised by the chairman that the branch executive had written to the ABLP central executive in early November saying that a primary should be convened in Rural East to determine the candidate.
Williams-Grant alleged that the chairman advised her that the central executive had not formally replied, but had “orally” stated that there would be no primary, and the results of a recent poll would be used to select who would represent the party at the next general election.
According to the lawyer’s letter, only two of the six executive members were aware of the outcome of the poll: the chairman and the treasurer.
She wrote to the chairman, “The treasurer and your good self were privy to the results which indicated that Michael Freeland emerged first and Shenella Govia was in second place.
“Additionally, both Freeland and Govia were no longer being considered, pursuant to the instructions/directives of the Central Executive, you would be writing to the Central Executive to advise that Maria Bird-Browne, who placed third in the poll, would be the candidate for the Rural East Constituency.”
Williams-Grant recalled in her letter that the chairman said she would advise the Rural East Branch of the constituency.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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