Politicians from all sides of the political spectrum yesterday gave their initial reaction to Wednesday’s Barbuda Council elections.
On March 27, voters overwhelmingly cast their ballots for the four candidates running for the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM) with its candidates Sharima Deazle receiving 515 votes, Calsey Beazer receiving 502 votes, Jacqueline Frank gaining 490 votes and Freeston Thomas earning 444 votes.
Yesterday, at the Cabinet press briefing, the government’s Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst said the result of the election was to be expected.
“We believe that the ABLP would not have won the seats yesterday, as the council election reflects not only an adherence to family and friends, but also the absence of a significant [number of] Barbudan voters from the island,” Hurst said.
“It was clear that the number of the persons returning to Barbuda to live and vote exceeded the number of Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party supporters. So [the BPM] had the numerical advantage.”
When questioned whether some decisions undertaken by the government, particularly relating to Barbuda Land Act, had an impact on the decision of voters, Hurst said that regardless the actions undertaken by the government, there would always be opposition.
“No matter what government does, it will succeed in making support and losing support; that is simply how government works. In this case, every Barbudan would benefit from ownership of the land where their house is situated. However, the mischief done in 2007, it has become difficult to persuade the Barbudans that they are in a better shape,” he said. “I think this is a determinant in the outcome of many elections; Barbudans feels that, somehow, Antiguans are making decision about the affairs of Barbudans that they should not.”
Parliamentary representative for Barbuda and leader of the BPM, Trevor Walker, took time to congratulate the BPM on its recent election win.
“I want to congratulate the winners and hope going forward that the best interests of Barbuda can be advanced,” Walker said, adding that he was confident of his party’s eventual victory before the vote on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Political Leader of United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, congratulated the BPM and argued that the win was indicative of the direction that voters wished for Barbuda.
“I think they have articulated a clear message that Barbudans will accept no less than the social consensus on how Barbuda should develop,” Lovell said.