As local politics heats up with speculations of an early election, residents have focussed their attention on the All Saints East & St Luke constituency to see who will emerge as the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) candidate in the opposition stronghold.
However, while at least four prospects have expressed the desire to run on the ABLP ticket, the incumbent, Jamale Pringle, who is also the lone Member of Parliament for the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), said he is ready to take on any contender.
Pringle, who won the seat by 10 votes in the last general election, believes that his work in the constituency speaks for itself.
“My constituents in All Saints East & St Luke have trusted me in terms of representing them and I must say that I am confident that they will re-elect me again for a second term,” he said.
“If you notice, my opponents cannot fill that seat up to this day, but I can just invite all of them from the other side to come and run in that constituency and then we just beat all of them and then we move on.
“The work that I am doing in the constituency, my presence, and persons realise the genuineness of me representing them I think is the main reason why the confidence level of the people is so high. [Politicians in opposition would say] ‘I can’t get this done because I am in opposition’ [but] I believe where there is a will, there is a way, and before I fail my people I have to put in the work and put in the effort, so failure is not an option,” Pringle added.
Among the contenders vying for the spot are newcomers Jermaine Lewis and Neil Cochrane and the 2018 ABLP candidate, Colin James.
There are also speculations that former ABLP minister Teco Lake is eyeing the constituency. However, the announcement that former UPP minister Winston Williams is also in the running has been raising eyebrows.
Cochrane recently spoke on the controversial revelation claiming that Williams will not complicate his efforts to represent the constituency.
“I fancy myself and the work that we have put in, the team and I, in the constituency. What I would say is that the emotions that were evoked out of me when I heard the information, one was laughter and the second one was, I would say, wow,” Cochrane said.
He does not believe that Williams will be able to convince the people of All Saints East & St Luke to give him their vote.
“The point is though, for me, if we want as a party to win that seat, I don’t see that final entry as playing a role. I believe the history and what comes with the individual, I am not sure that he has the ability to change the minds of the voters out there,” Cochrane added.
He confirmed that a poll has been conducted in the constituency, but was tight-lipped about the outcome, only to note that while he did not win, he was encouraged by the results.
When contacted for comment, Williams told Observer, “It’s a matter for the people of All Saints East & St Luke to decide who they want to represent them. In the meantime, I will continue to do what I am doing and chat to the people about their future.
“This is not about what was; it’s about what will be. My campaign is about being better together,” he added.