Londel Benjamin not stepping aside for Gail Christian’s return

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The rumoured return of Gail Christian to the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) slate in St. John’s Rural West could remain an aspiration if the party’s central executive cannot oust its 2014 candidate and current caretaker Londel Benjamin, who has no intention of standing down.

Gail Christian

Benjamin has been a senator and the ABLP’s caretaker since June 2014 when he lost the election to then-prime minister and sitting member or parliament (MP) Baldwin Spencer.
In an interview yesterday he said, “The Chairman of my branch came back to me after the last [ABLP] executive meeting and said, ‘Last night the prime minister said Gail is in and Benjamin is out.’ [The prime minister and I] met subsequently and he did mention it. I bluntly told him that could not happen.”
The conversation with Gaston Browne, prime minister and ABLP political leader took place at least three weeks ago according to Benjamin. In response, he says his constituency branch has passed a resolution to support him as the candidate. It is to be delivered to party General Secretary, Mary Claire-Hurst once she returns from government business overseas.
Christian’s return as the Rural West candidate has only been rumour till this point, as she had declined to confirm or deny to OBSERVER media. Christian abruptly abandon the candidacy in 2013 just before the June 2014 general elections, prompting the party to find a replacement in Benjamin.
Source: Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party

At the time, Browne had fired her as senate minority leader and she had shortly after resigned from the senate. Around the same time, she also resigned as ABLP Chairman and was replaced by incumbent Chet Greene.
After the ABLP came to power in June 2014, the former senate minority leader was named Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to Mexico – a post she still holds. Benjamin has argued, “She lost to the former PM Spencer by 700 plus and 500 plus. I have only lost by 30 votes.”
In 2009, Christian faced Spencer at the polls losing with 1,753 votes to his 2,259, a split of 43.69 percent to 56.31 percent, respectively. Five years before in 2004, she lost to Spencer gaining only 1,318 or 38.82 percent of the vote compared to his 2,077 votes – 66.18 percent of the vote.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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