ABLP, Dwayne George officially launch campaign but PM mum on by-election date

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By Robert A Emmanuel

[email protected]

The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) and its candidate, Senator Dwayne George, officially launched their by-election campaign in St Mary’s South on Sunday night.

Starting with a motorcade at 4:45pm and ending with a political rally which started at 7:30pm, party supporters came out to rally around George in his bid to defeat his former allies, Kelvin ‘Shugy’ Simon and the United Progressive Party (UPP).

During his campaign launch, the newly-appointed Senator shared some of his and the ABLP’s plans for the area, including the construction of community centres and the building of a music studio at the Urlings Primary School.

He also criticised the Opposition for not appreciating his talents and choosing Simon to represent the constituency.

“The best thing I have ever done in my life is to leave the UPP, to move away from those folks. Why? They are not caring or nurturing; in other words, they nah love poor people.”

Speeches made by the political leadership of the party focussed heavily on Senator George’s decision to cross the political divide weeks after publicly supporting Simon in his by-election bid.

St John’s City East MP and Information Minister Melford Nicholas said Senator George’s departure from the Opposition was similar to his own circumstances and he had been similarly embraced by Party supporters.

“I am one of the more recent representations of the Labour Party accepting even former adversaries and bringing them onboard and saying, ‘you can work with us, and provided that you are prepared to commit and to work to the ideals of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party, we welcome you’,” MP Nicholas said.

St Paul MP and Chairman of the ABLP, Chet Greene, argued that the leadership was not negligent in its decision to select Senator George as its candidate, stating that they had been polling the constituency prior to the announcement.

“The one thing consistent with the Labour Party is that we always recruit talent wherever and whenever we find it,” MP Greene stated.

Meanwhile, Senator Samantha Marshall said that her resignation as the St Mary’s South caretaker was made to ensure that we have “someone who has the full dedication and can bring this seat back to Labour”.

St Mary’s North MP Molwyn Joseph blamed the Opposition for slow population growth in Bolans and the lack of development in the constituency.

“When you look at Bolans and Jennings, Crabbe Hill, Johnson’s Point, Urlings, and you examine the development in these areas, you cannot find anything that the UPP has done of significance to develop these communities,” he claimed.

However, with only five weeks to go before a by-election must be held in the constituency, Prime Minister Gaston Browne remained tight-lipped on its date.

He said that while Senator George had submitted his letter of resignation as a Senator to him, he had not yet signed off on the letter.

He also gave credit to the Senator George for some of the infrastructural work that had been done since his appointment by the political party.

“And, you can see in just a matter of weeks on the job, and he is already delivering. Look at the infrastructure work that it is taking place in this constituency; look at the quality of the representation coming from Dwayne George in the Senate,” he argued.

The by-election for St Mary’s South was triggered by the resignation of former MP Simon, thereby bypassing an election petition against him.

Thus far, the Missing Link’s Nigel Bascus and the Democratic National Alliance’s (DNA) Andrew Antonio have also stated their intention to contest the by-election.

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