By Orville Williams
Ahead of the next general election, Leader of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), Prime Minister Gaston Browne, has shared his views on the prospects of two constituencies currently held by his party, that have faced their fair share of controversy over the past couple of months.
St Peter – a constituency currently served by Member of Parliament, Asot Michael – has come under scrutiny, primarily due to the actions of the MP, including his ongoing rift with party leader, Browne.
The back-and-forth between the two has been riddled with name-calling and various accusations, which have led to suggestions that the seat could be up for grabs when the next election rolls around.
Though Michael has enjoyed success representing the area, many are of the view that ‘his time is up’ as a member of the ABLP. He has done little to sway that view, even claiming last year that he was prepared to run in the election as an independent candidate, if he were to be ousted from the party.
If the internal battle Michael and the ABLP are engaged in was not enough, the emergence of a young Tevaughn “Peter Redz” Harriette as the opposition United Progressive Party’s (UPP) candidate for the constituency has only made matters worse.
Harriette is said to command a decent following within the constituency and many believe he could ‘have something to say’ in the next election.
Browne told Observer though, that he remains confident his party will retain the St Peter seat, having already secured significant support.
“St Peter is solidly Labour – already, one of the prospective candidates would have gotten close to about 600 constituents who have pledged support in writing, and we have no doubt that seat will remain strongly within the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party,” Browne said.
Meanwhile, the constituency of All Saints West (ASW) is also of great concern to both political parties, amid the legal woes of its Parliamentary representative, former Education Minister Michael Browne.
Brown resigned from his ministerial post late last year and is currently battling a court case, after a woman made allegations against him.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that ASW is not the most secure for his party, but was similarly confident that they would retain the seat.
“In All Saints West, I have to admit, it’s not one of our strongest seats, but we are pretty sure that if we had to replace the candidate, we have good prospective candidates. It’s not going to be a walk in the park, but we’re pretty sure that we’ll be able to retain that seat,” the PM added.
The UPP candidate for ASW is another young man, Anthony Smith.
The ABLP secured 15 of the 17 available seats in the 2018 general election, with the UPP and the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM) securing the other two.