ST JOHN’S, Antigua – As the United Progressive Party (UPP) engages in introspection of its election defeat, the first woman to be elected to the Lower House of Parliament in Antigua is adamant that the alienation of the business community contributed to the party’s demise.
The former Member of Parliament for St George’s Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro said she is of the view that there was a gap between the government and business.
“My colleagues may want to hit me over the head for this, but I think to a large extent there were aspects of the business community that were strongly against this government and used that influence and that power and wielded it like a big stick against this government,” Quinn Leandro said.
“To a large degree one has to have a kind of economic climate and the kind of partnership with the business community in the country so that people feel comfortable in an election period and people feel positive towards your government,” Quinn Leandro said during an interview on the opposition aligned media for the first time since the June 12 general elections.
She was at the time highlighting what she believed were critical issues which played a part in the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party’s (ABLP) overwhelming victory at the polls.
Other issues she pointed to were the strategies and the platform on which both parties campaigned.
According to the now senator, UPP promoted the message that “Leadership matters now more than ever, while the ALP promised, “More Jobs, Less Taxes, More Investments – Ready to Rebuild.
“We assumed that leadership mattered; we assumed that this good and noble ethic that everyone in Antigua & Barbuda would want to aspire to would be something that would catch the hearts and minds of Antiguans.
The ALP, she said, was “to offer as much carrots as possible and suggest to the people of this country that the streets would be paved with gold and honey.”
Senator Quinn Leandro also spoke of her colleague’s failure to connect with constituents.
Examining her own campaign and that of her colleagues, the former minister stated that there should have been more groundwork.
She advised her colleagues not to take anything for granted.
“Our people tend to, Oh! Don’t worry about that person, that person supported us in 2004, don’t make assumptions, go out there and do the leg work,”
The opposition party will be meeting shortly to conduct an assessment of the elections.
The two-term MP suffered a bruising defeat to the ALP’s candidate Dean Jonas who amassed 2,182 votes to her 1,765 votes.
Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro was recently appointed as senator and will represent the UPP in the Upper House of Parliament.