By Carlena Knight
“There are times when you have to respond to idle chatter.” This is the view of the Public Relations Officer of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Cortwright Marshall, who sought to clear the air on the issue raised by sections of the public that accuse the party of playing political games instead of focusing on the needs of the people.
According to Marshall, some issues cannot be left to fester in the public domain, especially if these matters defame a member or the party on a whole.
Recently, Political Leader of the UPP, Harold Lovell declared that he will be filing a defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister and Leader of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) Gaston Browne, for making allegations about the lewd conduct of Lovell during his tenure as Finance Minister.
Browne welcomed the challenge adding that it was a great opportunity for him ‘to exploit which I couldn’t have exploited otherwise’.
The main opposition party is now however accusing the PM of trying to use these attacks as diversions from the real issues. In fact, Marshall noted that they are not be phased by the intimidation attempts by their political opponent.
“We cannot just sit back and allow those statements to go unchallenged…we cannot be intimidated by the PM. We know the Prime Minister is just like Donald Trump. For every 10 statements, nine are half-truths and lies, and we will not be intimidated by a Prime Minister who goes to the public time after time. The public will eventually understand that what the PM is doing and saying is not in the interest of the people of Antigua and Barbuda, because up until now, we have not heard the government introduce or announce any stimulus program and how it intends to get the businesses up and running in this particular situation and post Covid.”
Instead, Marshall is laying blame on the ABLP leader for not painting the full picture to the public on the affairs that the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) government left for the UPP in 2004, to throw the UPP administration under the bus.
“The debt to GDP was 140 percent and Gaston Browne was a Minister in the Economic Development Ministry, and so he is quite aware of the situation that the UPP found when it took office. What Gaston Browne is trying to do is to suggest to the public that he is not concerned about what happened. What he is trying to say, whatever I didn’t do as the minister, he is not concerned about that. He is not concerned about the errors made, he is not concerned about the levels of corruption under the ALP, and he is just ignoring what took place and is saying ‘okay, we are moving forward,’ but government is continuous, and so the UPP had to initiate bold and comprehensive policies in order to challenge the difficulties that we met in 2004.”
Marshall, however, indicated that the UPP is presently holding consultations for the transformation strategic approach that should be taken post-Covid.