PM and Shugy both confident of by-election success

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PM Gaston Browne (left) and MP Kelvin ‘Shugy’ Simon
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By Samantha Simon

[email protected]

The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party is actively making preparations for a potential by-election, according to their leader, PM Gaston Browne.

Browne said should procedures followed by St Mary’s South representative Kelvin ‘Shugy’ Simon be deemed correct, the by-election will need to be held within the constitutionally mandated timeframe of 120 days.

PM Browne had previously indicated that a by-election could be held sooner, but now claims that that timeline was extended to accommodate the legal matter questioning Simon’s eligibility for office.

However, Browne stressed that his party is fully prepared to confront Simon and the United Progressive Party (UPP) should it come to another vote.

The court case – slated to be heard next week – centres on whether Simon was eligible to run for office as he was a civil servant at the time he was officially nominated, despite the fact he quit his Ministry of Education position before the election. On June 7, Simon announced he was resigning as an MP in the hope of triggering a by-election and avoiding a protracted legal battle. But the Speaker of the House has since said the correct procedure was not followed for the resignation either.

PM Browne said although Simon attained approximately 55 percent of the votes in the January 18 election, it was not a significant enough lead over his opponent, Samantha Marshall, to set a second win in stone.

He noted that voting for Simon would not change the current composition of the government in favour of the opposition.

Simon told Observer yesterday, “The Prime Minister knows that I acted within my rights when I resigned.

“He and the Speaker of the House know that the Speaker was way out of line when he said he is not accepting my resignation. The Constitution of the country does not empower the Speaker with such authority.”

He continued, “Instead of coming to the public with the truth they decided to put false information out there to deceive the nation, hence making themselves look like fools for the sake of putting up resistance.

“Rather than trying to dance around my resignation and trying to make it appear as if I did something wrong, the PM should announce the date of the election so that I can put Samantha to rest and get on with some real work for the people of St Mary’s South.”

He added, “All they are doing is to stop me from making SMS a better place for all. Even without state resources I will be working tirelessly for my people and getting major projects done.

“This is what they elected me for and I’m confident that they will elect me again in the by-election.”

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