My fellow residents of St. Mary’s South. We have just come to the end of an intensive campaign, and I want to thank everyone for your financial, moral, and emotional support. We have made history in St. Mary’s South, where we had the rare opportunity to go to the polls twice in a single year to send a message about the type of representation that you expect and deserve.
Through your votes in this by-election, you sent a strong message to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, that St. Mary’s South will NOT be taken for granted. Our community has been neglected for over 9 years, and as your representative, I will stand in the gap on behalf of every resident.
While on the campaign trail, we learned more about the personal challenges that you face daily, and we welcomed your insights and suggestions for how we can work together to build up our community.
The Gaston Browne administration hastily initiated several projects in a desperate search for votes and I will be actively agitating for the proper completion of these projects.
The Bolans clinic and the pharmacy in Johnson’s Point Clinic have not been fully operationalized, and this limits access to healthcare for our most vulnerable residents. We are also still awaiting the completion of the Bolans Police Station and Fire Station.
Our sports facilities must also be completed. We will be closely monitoring the completion of the stand at the football field in Bolans and the renovation of the Urlings basketball court. We must ensure that our youth have opportunities to cultivate their sporting talents.
We have also seen the initiation of road works in Cades Bay, Urlings, Johnson’s Point, Ffryes, Darkwood and West Palm Beach in Bolans. While we welcome all infrastructural upgrades in our community, the work must be done professionally, and it must be completed in a timely manner.
Our farmers and fisherfolk also need support. We will create cooperatives to help with funding, improving their production and access to new markets to sell their produce. We will also intensify our fight to ensure that the Cades Bay Farm is revamped, so that our Antigua Black Pineapple, which embodies the sweetness and uniqueness of the people of the south will be preserved as a part of our heritage.
Too many of our people – especially our youth – remain unemployed and underemployed. We will start an employment directory and job bank to assist with finding opportunities for those in search of work. We will also organize an annual business forum to address the concerns of business owners so that we can strengthen the economic base of our community.
As we look toward the future, we must begin to heal from the wounds of division that have been inflicted during the campaign. Prime Minister Gaston Browne was unrelenting in his quest to block me from becoming the representative for St. Mary’s South. But by God’s grace I have been victorious, and I stand here humbled by the opportunity to serve my community and ready to defend our democracy.
I will be staying on top of the government and all its departments to ensure that we advance the needs of the people, regardless of your political persuasion. To my opponent Mr. Dwayne George, I invite you to join forces with me to ensure that the people of St. Mary’s South get the resources and support that they deserve, to advance the community and improve the quality of life for all.
Here are just a few highlights of my plans to improve our community, working together with you:
● We will advocate for the revival of the vocational school in Urlings, as an extension of the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education. This will provide easier access to training for our youth and other constituents.
● We will position sports as a generator of new jobs and opportunities for education and entrepreneurship in our community. Through effective sports clubs, we will provide professional coaching and support to help athletes secure scholarships.
● We will also use community partnerships to ensure the proper maintenance of the Johnson’s Point Clinic and work together to implement programmes that improve both the physical and mental health in our community. This will include health screenings, preventative care and programmes which strengthen family relationships.
As your representative, I look forward to working with each of you. Let us join our hearts and minds to plant seeds of hope for a better community and a brighter future for St. Mary’s South.
Thank you, and God bless you.