By Robert A. Emmanuel
While the expectation is that the upcoming by-election will focus on the two candidates representing the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) and the United Progressive Party (UPP), another political hopeful is asking the public not to forget about the third horse in this democratic race.
Andrew Antonio, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) candidate for the St Mary’s South constituency in the January 18 election, has confirmed that he will be contesting the upcoming by-election as well.
“Yes, I will be contesting the by-election for the Democratic National Alliance with my whole heart, with the idea of prosperity, the idea of change and the idea of growth,” he told Observer.
Although Antonio only received 12 votes in the January 18 general elections, he rebuffed any claim that contesting the election would be a “waste of time” saying he believed it was “an opportunity day in, day out, to show the people of St Mary’s South and Antigua and Barbuda where they should lay their trust in the future for themselves and generations to come”.
He continued, “One question I have been hearing a lot is ‘does it matter?’ because it doesn’t change that the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party will stay in governance, no matter what the circumstances.
“I say it does because we need to have the idea that it takes governance to make a difference and the power is in your hands … there are opportunities … in place to help put forward funding for certain community projects,” he said.
The vacancy for the St Mary’s South constituency was created after its recent occupant Kelvin Simon resigned, arguing that the election petition case against him had affected his ability to work as an MP.
Antonio said that the former MP should have allowed the case to continue, in order for precedent to be settled.
“In my humble opinion, this was a question that needed to be answered; it was not a circumstance of wanting one party to win or the other … so that we have precedent in regard to certain circumstances in similar fashion, so we know what path is needed to be taken,” he said.
The election petition brought by Casworth Aaron sought to invalidate Simon’s position as an MP as he was still a civil servant on nomination day and only resigned two weeks prior to election day.
However, the case was dismissed as Simon’s resignation had made the issue a moot point.