By Carlena Knight
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said ABS news anchor and former Queen of Carnival Shermain Jeremy could likely replace sitting Member of Parliament Asot Michael as the candidate for St Peter.
Michael’s appointment as the Minister of Tourism and Investment was revoked after he was arrested in London in 2017.
He was allowed to run as a candidate for St Peter in the March 2018 general elections, where he reclaimed his seat and was later appointed Minister of Investment and Trade.
However, not too long after, Michael was heard in a recording apparently demanding payments and gifts from British investor, Peter Virdee, and shortly after he was asked to resign from the Cabinet pending the outcome of the case.
Browne said if the MP is charged criminally, Jeremy, with whom he has held discussions, is best suited for the job.
“I would have had a discussion with Shermain Jeremy about the possibility of her running in the event comrade Asot Michael ends up in any trouble with the law. Clearly, if comrade Michael is charged for any criminal action he will not be able to run on the Labour Party ticket and will be replaced and we always have to be prepared for any eventuality, and I personally would have said to Shermain Jeremy that she has the type of capacity as a professional, young Antiguan lady to serve,” he said.
“Her father, the Honourable Longford Jeremy, would have served in that constituency. So, she has pedigree, she has legitimacy, she’s educated, very smart, great presence, good character and you know in the unlikely event that comrade Asot Michael would be charged criminally, then she is one of the individuals that would be chosen to run,” Browne said.
The 2004 Miss World Talent recipient spoke with Observer about this latest announcement.
“This isn’t new news. It was discussed back in 2017 when the allegations against Mr Michael first surfaced. When the Prime Minister asked about stepping in, it was really about the party needing someone that they could depend on to take the minister’s place if it got to that point, someone who is willing to serve; and I told him it was a big task but I would definitely be interested,” Jeremy explained.
“Whatever the party needed from me, I would be more than willing to step up to the plate and I also recognise that the people of St Peter also are probably in need of someone who has more of their interest at heart, and maybe not everyone feels the same way about me being a candidate or a possible candidate but anybody who knows me knows that once I put my mind to something I do it wholeheartedly and 100 percent always. So, if it gets to the point where I am asked to step in, the people of St Peter have nothing to fear.”
Meanwhile, in response to a caller who suggested that his son, Gaston Browne III is also being considered as a candidate for St Peter, Prime Minister Browne said that no such talks have been held with his son.
“We have not had any discussions. Gaston Browne III never held any discussions with me or any person about running in Parham or in any constituency. I have to admit that in terms of candidate material he will make a great candidate; I have no qualms about that, based on his educational standing, the fact too now that he is a successful businessman and he has great physical presence,” he said.
However, Browne added that he would not encourage his son to run for public office while he himself is serving.