By Kadeem Joseph
After enduring the “ordeal” of the highly publicised bus corruption case, the political leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) said that he is now looking forward.
Harold Lovell was responding to queries on whether he would be filing a lawsuit against the government for damages after the charges were dismissed on Tuesday. Fellow defendant Dr Jacqui Quinn has already pledged her intention to do so. The third defendant Wilmoth Daniel has not yet indicated plans to follow suit.
“I will take advice on that of course but my focus now is really to get right into the political fight totally, and so for me I am more focusing on the political fight ahead,” Lovell said.
His declaration comes amid continued rumours of a snap election on the horizon, a reality that Prime Minister Gaston Browne has hinted at on multiple occasions.
Browne has even called on his colleague parliamentarians and the Electoral Commission to ready themselves for such an eventuality.
All three former parliamentarians who served in the prior UPP administration were accused of embezzlement, conversion and corruption, relating to three buses that were given to the former UPP government by South Korea. The defendants had been accused of using the vehicles for their own personal use.
On Tuesday Justice Colin Williams upheld the ‘no case’ submission submitted on their behalf, and declared they had no case to answer to.
While Lovell said it is “difficult to speculate” on what political gains will come from the exoneration of himself and his colleagues, he said the near two-week trial and the subsequent ruling has “exposed” the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party administration.
Meanwhile, political analyst Arvel Grant says while supporters of both parties have been paying close attention to the case, he is unsure of the impact it could have on either side.
“Many persons believe that this was not, at the core of it, a criminal enterprise. Many persons believe that it was sloppily handled by the former government, that perhaps the issues of poor judgement are more the factors at play rather than criminal intent” he said.
“How people interpret those things whenever elections are called is something that we will have to wait and see.”