By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) will go to the polls on April 25.
The date was announced by president of the ABFA and former national player Everton Gonsalves during the body’s general meeting held via the Zoom platform on Monday night.
The announcement comes almost 10 months after the May 2020 date when elections were constitutionally due to be held. The vote was delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions on large gatherings. The government lifted the state of emergency in December last year, paving the way for the hosting of the electoral congress.
Gonsalves said the announcement allows for the hosting of the election at the earliest possible date given the time factors for relevant processes dictated within the ABFA’s constitution.
“It falls squarely within the requirements of the constitution where there is two months for nomination processes to take place, one month of due diligence before the general secretary informs the members who are the eligible and approved candidates to vie for electoral positions,” he said.
“As I speak, contact is being made with the three gentlemen to, as early as today [January 18], come to the ABFA’s office to start putting the procedures in place and every step of the way the process will be communicated to all of our members,” he added.
The process will be managed by a three-member committee consisting of magistrates Conliffe Clarke and Craig Christopher and accountant Peter Quinn.
Gonsalves, who has declared that he will seek re-election, believes he has earned a fourth year in office.
“As the president of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association, I have served them well. I have the competence, I have the intellect, I have the vision, I have performed like no other. I have made promises and I have kept it in terms of the Paynters centre, education, B licence, development, club infrastructure, club advice and every single thing that my representative needed me to do personally and football-wise that is expected of every president. I love my members, I care for them, I have and I have an open door policy,” the former player said.
FIFA, in April 2021, wrote to the ABFA reminding the body that its constitution does not allow for the hosting of virtual elections. The international governing body also informed the local FA that the vote must be held once local health protocols allow for large gatherings.
Barbara Coates, a floor member on the current ABFA executive, is the only person to have announced her intention to challenge Gonsalves for the top spot.