ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A number of residents have expressed support for Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer’s plan to fire two United Progressive Party (UPP) Senators who rejected the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) Bill.
At the same time, though, many other people have strongly objected his decision and labelled him a dictator.
The views relate to Friday’s announcement by Spencer, who said he would soon move to have the appointment of Senators Colin Derrick and Anthony Stuart revoked because they “embarrassed” the government by voting against the very Bill upon which the ruling administration’s 2013 Budget hinges.
The prime minister is yet to tell the public whether he has accepted the resignations of another two UPP Senators, Malaka Parker and David Massiah, who did not support the Bill when it went before the Senate about two weeks ago.
“The prime minister is absolutely right. It’s just like if you give somebody an order and they decide ‘arwe nar do um.’ If they had all those qualms about the Bill they could have gone to (Senator) Dr Errol Cort or the Prime Minister at an earlier stage,” one commentator said.
The individual – who called in to OBSERVER Radio – said had that been done, then the Prime Minister or Dr Cort could have addressed the areas of concern among the Senators and a compromise could have been met.
“If you disagree, tell me upfront and we could discuss it and thrash it out. I’m in support (of) the prime minister for what he did. Yes he should have called them in, but they could have gone to him as well,” another caller added.
On the other hand, another person weighing in said, even as the Senators are yet to be sacked, the prime minister has done them wrong by publicly calling their actions into question.
“I understand when the prime minister picked the senators they are supposed to be independent minded people, people who are able to think on certain issues and give their own views as they see it. The place for doing that is in the Senate. I don’t think he made the right move,” the individual concluded.
Another contributor who shared the preceding view, said the country’s leader is trampling on democracy.
“This has to do with the sovereignty of Antigua & Barbuda. I think the prime minister is abusing his power and authority in this matter. This goes back to our rights. I want to encourage the prime minister to rethink this process, shelve it,” a woman said.
Stuart, one of the Senators to be sacked, said the prime minister is about to make a dictatorial move.
“This is like a dictatorship where you can’t say anything; where you can’t be objective in the party. Where you are going to bring in senators, what are they going to do? Say yes, yes? They’re not going to critique anything?” he posited.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)