ST JOHN’S, Antigua – In a candid exchange, Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) representative for St George, Dean Jonas responded to concerns that he does not serve in the prime minister’s Cabinet despite convincingly winning his seat.
Jonas received the highest number of votes in the June 12 elections – 2182.
Jonas, to be sworn-in as Deputy Speaker of the House today, said ministerial appointments were Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s prerogative and that he served at Browne’s pleasure.
“I did have higher expectations. I am not going to lie to you,” a somewhat despondent Jonas told OBSERVER AM yesterday.
“At the end of the day, it is the prime minister’s decision. He chooses his Cabinet and he made a choice as prime minister and it is my duty to serve in whatever capacity I am assigned.”
Jonas said he met with his branch on Monday and they too expressed disappointment with his lack of inclusion in the 12-member Cabinet announced last Wednesday.
“I know there has been a little bit of an outcry, not just in St George but nationally, where people felt that because of our performance and my skills set, something better should have been done,” he said.
“…But when I went into politics I came in to serve the people of my community. I have been doing that to the best of my ability, for the past three years, and I am going to continue to do that.”
He said he would also serve as a board member of Antigua & Barbuda Transport Board and the Development Control Authority (DCA).
After losing to Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro in 2009, Jonas won the St George seat by beating the United Progressive Party’s candidate.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)