City South out of UPP’s reach, Grant says

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A political analyst is warning the Opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) that some seats which are historically Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) strongholds, will not be “within range” by the next general election constitutionally due in 2019.
Arvel Grant, who was speaking on OBSERVER media’s Big Issues, was commenting on the UPP’s decision to name the party’s Chairman D Gisele Isaac as the candidate to run against the ABLP’s Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin who has won the St John’s City South constituency five consecutive times.
“Anybody who goes up against him for the next general election will get some good political practice and experience, but unless he wants to give up the seat, I don’t think it is going to be won by another side,” he cautioned.
He said that the UPP has taken a “cash crop” approach to City South and has not allowed a candidate the chance to develop in hopes of catching up with Benjamin.
Grant said, however, there are other seats the UPP could focus on in their bid to win the next general elections.
Meantime, political analyst Ansel St Hilaire described the UPP’s decision to make Isaac Benjamin’s challenger as a “strong political risk”.
He said, “Unless she could bring to the table a special type of charisma and really mobilise a groundswell of support, I really think it is an uphill challenge.”
Meanwhile, political pollster and scientist, Peter Wickham said the UPP chairman would be in a better position in City South if there were a swing towards the opposition.
However, he explained, “The political winds are blowing in a slightly different direction and it would make her take-off somewhat more challenging because she is flying directly into negative political headwinds.”
Wickham said the question of whether or not the UPP is being regarded as an alternative government is the chief factor Isaac should be worried about as she considers her future in politics.

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