UPP to decide on St Paul’s candidate following Gregory Athill’s withdrawal

Cleon Athill
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Well-known counsellor Dr Cleon Athill looks likely to be declared the United Progressive Party (UPP) election candidate for the St Paul’s constituency.

Athill was primed to win the seat in the primary on Wednesday evening but did not get the opportunity to compete against her cousin Gregory Athill, who at the last moment wrote to the branch indicating his decision to withdraw.

She described her cousin’s withdrawal as an anti-climax explaining, “I wanted to go through the whole process because the members of the branch had been rallying, mobilising, using tremendous amounts of energy towards this primary because they wanted to win”.

The counsellor, who said she had every confidence that she would have won, said there had been no indication that her relative would pull out of the race.

“It was a surprise to me because we were mobilising over the last couple of days,” she told Observer.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the UPP, Senator Shawn Nicholas, said that although Gregory would have outlined his reasons for withdrawing, it was a matter that the leadership of the party would have to discuss internally.

“At this point, we cannot say definitively that Cleon is the candidate,” she remarked, noting that there is a process when someone withdraws.

The party’s leadership will decide what happens next, Nicholas said.

The counsellor on the other hand has already declared a personal victory convinced that the people of St Paul’s support her.

“I hope that will just do wonderful things for the community of St Paul’s,” she said, anxious to take on what she described as a “tremendous responsibility”.

A third pick for candidacy, Denmore Roberts, could not contest the primary as he had not submitted the necessary documents.

The UPP has unveiled a series of candidates in recent weeks to run for the party at the next general election, which is not constitutionally due until 2023 but the prime minister has hinted it could be held earlier.

Gregory Athill could not be reached for comment up to press time.

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