ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A new honorary title for the former Antigua Labour Party (ALP) leader Lester Bird would be a mistake for the newly reshuffled party.
This according to political pundit, Arvel Grant, in response to reports that the newly-appointed ALP leader, Gaston Browne, plans to confer the title of Leader Emeritus.
“I’m sure that Mr Browne knows that the last thing he wants hanging around the labour party is the ghost or shadow of a former leader whose family has been around in the party for almost 70 years,” the political analyst said in an interview with OBSERVER Media.
Grant believes Browne’s statements are more than likely the positing of an “astute politician,” rather than a genuine move to keep the former leader in an authoritative position.
The analyst suggested the two-time former prime minister should “feel free” to operate as an elder statesman in the party, but added, “They don’t need to create any position for Mr Bird.”
Although, political analyst, Peter Wickham, pegged the emeritus title as “somewhat amusing,” he “very much likes the idea.”
“It essentially means that you have a certain amount of status. It means that we have not completely forgot you and there is a role that you can play,” Wickham said on OBSERVER AM yesterday.
Although Wickham conceded Bird would not have any tangible benefits of being Leader Emeritus, it gives him a continuing role, without seeking to “humiliate” the former leader.
During the ALP Convention held on November 25, Browne beat Lester Bird 213-180 to triumph as the new political leader of the party.