Parliament to convene next week to select new Supervisor of Elections, legalise Alfa Nero guarantees

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Ian Hughes is slated to become the new Supervisor of Elections, according to the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst. (Photo courtesy ABS TV)
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By Robert A. Emmanuel

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The Lower House of Parliament will convene next Tuesday, July 25, where the main agenda item will be to approve the appointment of the new Supervisor of Elections following the retirement of Dame Lorna Simon earlier this year.

And, with the impending by-election in the Constituency of St Mary’s South on the horizon, the appointment of a new Supervisor to oversee the election process will be vital to that activity.

Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ambassador Lionel Hurst revealed that current Assistant Supervisor of Elections Ian Hughes will likely become the new Supervisor, replacing his former boss.

Meanwhile, candidates from all sides of the political aisle spent the weekend garnering public support for their campaigns leading into the by-election which is expected to be held some time before October 26.

Members of the hierarchy of Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) to include the party’s candidate for the St Mary’s South seat, Senator Samantha Marshall, Prime Minister Gaston Browne, and ABLP Chairman Chet Greene along with other ABLP supporters took to the streets on Friday to engage with constituents.

On Saturday, the United Progressive Party (UPP) held its first small business pull up in St Mary’s South since the January elections, shoring up support for the most recent incumbent in the race, Kelvin Simon.

The first-time politician resigned on June 7, bypassing a legal challenge against his election brought by Casworth Aaron, which automatically triggered the by-election.

Meanwhile, during a Facebook live, the Democratic National Alliance candidate Andrew Antonio shared his plans for the constituency and the country.

Additionally, during next week’s sitting Parliament will also formally approve legal guarantees to Eric Schmidt — the preferred buyer of the Alfa Nero superyacht — against future liabilities as the government hopes to see the end of the protracted saga, including a last-minute legal battle over its sale.

Yulia Gurieva-Motlokhov, the daughter of the sanctioned Russian businessman Andrey Guryev has continued to mount legal battles against the government’s right to sell the vessel, arguing that she is the true owner of the 267-ft superyacht, and is the sole beneficiary of the companies which claimed to have ownership of the vessel and the artwork on board.

Another appeal had been filed in the court, after several attempts by Gurieva-Motlokhov and the companies to block further completion of the sale.

However, the government has been eager to see the vessel back on the seas, as it is reportedly willing to absorb any risks attached to its sale.

This, according to the government, will also prevent Schmidt from becoming frustrated with the delay in the sale as he had been advised by his lawyers not to proceed with the transfer of funds until the legal issues have been resolved.

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