PM brushes aside MP’s threat to quit politics

Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda Gaston Browne

Prime Minister Gaston Browne is apparently unmoved by the threat from St. Peter’s MP Asot Michael to quit elective politics if the constituency he represents continues to be neglected.

The Prime Minister’s dismissive response: “That was total theatrics. Asot Michael isn’t going anywhere.”

At the same time, Browne sought to extend reassurances that the provision of certain services within the constituency would be expedited.

During his contribution to the 2019 Budget Debate over a week ago, the embattled MP said his constituents were not getting their fair share of the state’s community development resources, regardless of which of the two main political parties sits in government.

“They are sons and daughters of this land who pay taxes like everyone else and therefore deserve their fair share of the national pie just like their brothers, sisters and comrades in other constituencies. They have been patient. They have meekly waited. They have murmured not. It seems regardless of which government is in office, the more neglect and abandonment they take,” Michael said.

He claimed that during the course of the debate he listened with interest “as my colleagues reeled off the infrastructure, health care, social service improvements in their constituencies … amazing roadworks, for example, in St. John’s City West, St. John’s Rural East and St John’s Rural North whose representative gleefully boasted about the Chinese-funded state-of-the-art clinic”.

In an emotional plea for fairness and justice, Michael told Parliament: “I have a conscience… injustice is injustice. The people of St. Peter deserve a lot better than they have been forced to endure. They have been taken for granted by the party, now in government, that they have faithfully supported for six decades. It is not right. It is not fair. It makes a total mockery of representation in a parliamentary democracy.”