Leader of the country’s newest political party, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has asserted that general elections in Antigua & Barbuda should come at fixed intervals.
Joanne Massiah, who also serves as the member of parliament for All Saints East and St Luke, made the statement as she referred to the the words of the prime minister who said the “elections will come like a thief in the night”.
“The DNA is fully committed to doing away with this concept of a prime minister having exclusive determination as to when an election is called,” Massiah said yesterday.
“We want elections to be fixed so that the people will know that the elections are due every five years and in March, April, May, June or whatever the month is elections are due,” she added.
Massiah said that the practice of the prime minister calling elections at his “whim” limits political parties, activists and the electorate from preparing adequately for the electoral process.
According to her, the practice creates a situation in which contesting political parties and candidates do not take “the matter of governance seriously” and it leads to creating manifestos in a “hustle” that are “elusive promises”, which do not “thoroughly, purposefully, conscientiously develop any sort of policy initiative suitable … to advance this county and to advance its people”.
The MP said that manifestos are sometimes used as tools to fool the electorate and many parties do not deliver their promises.
She added, “If the prime minister is so confident about his government’s performance and so confident about the state of the economy then we would like him to call the election sooner rather than later.”
The MP explained that her party has been examining all possibilities and believes that although the next general election is constitutionally due in 2019, the prime minister will call it one year early, in 2018.
In anticipation of the pending elections, the DNA leader announced that the first two candidates for the party will be presented to the public next week at a town hall meeting later this month.
“We’re just finalising our roll out schedule, both the candidates and their families and certainly we in the DNA are tremendously excited and we are confident that the public too will be eager, excited and celebratory over a set of fresh, new and dynamic men and women who want to serve at the highest level in Antigua & Barbuda.”
The DNA leader had made an earlier promise that the party would unveil its candidates after carnival. Yesterday, she added that the full rollout should be completed in a relatively reasonable time.