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By Carlena Knight

Former prime minister Baldwin Spencer has come to the defence of the Parliamentary Opposition Leader after critics continue to claim that Jamale Pringle is the UPP’s political puppet.

The concerns rose after Pringle turned down an invitation to be a part of the newly formed Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) which the government put in place to find solutions to the country’s economic fallout in “the wake of the unexpected shock of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Opposition Leader Hon Jamale Pringle

Prime Minister Gaston Browne claimed that Pringle’s decision was not made on his own, but instead the agenda of the UPP hierarchy. But Spencer said Pringle is “no easy push over”.

“This young man is a fine individual in terms of his perspective on things and he’s no easy push over in terms of his views and opinions. I have had to deal with this young man and I am satisfied that he knows what he’s about. He has demonstrated it as a young man in his business and what he’s capable of doing. It is not a question of our dictating anything to him and determining what his views are; that is far from the case,” Spencer said.

Harold Lovell, the political leader of the UPP, also weighed in on the discussion, saying Pringle has great political instincts and is a team player. He also dismissed claims made by PM Browne that Pringle’s role as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament clashes with that of the party leadership especially during times of this pandemic.

“Let me tell you, he is one of the most outstanding young men that I have had the chance of meeting in this country. He is a self-made entrepreneur. He has a business that he has been running successfully. He has great political instincts and I find him to be a great credit and a great asset to the United Progressive Party and if anybody thinks that he is some guy that you can just tell yay or nay then you are very much mistaken,” Lovell said.

“He is his own man. He is a team player. He understands his role and he understands what he has to do and what he’s not required to do and we did not need to prompt him in any way. They … say the Honourable Jamale Pringle doesn’t have a mind of his own … he is a man who knows his mind and he’s a very honourable and decent human being who has done all of that as an Antiguan and Barbudan and stop making it seem like he is some sort of lesser person who just takes instructions from persons,” he added.

Both Spencer and Lovell were featured on the Observer AM radio show last week.

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