Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that at least four new people will be unveiled as candidates at the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party’s (ABLP) biennial convention later this month.
At the same time, he confirmed that Sir Lester Bird is officially off the party’s slate as is Eustace “Teco” Lake. The prime minister said that the labour party would not allow the duo to participate due to their health issues.
He told OBSERVER media yesterday, “As far as I am concerned, Lester Bird is not fit to run and he will not be allowed to run. Lester Bird will not be allowed to subject himself to the ridicules of partisan politics. He is a National Hero, a national treasure, and he is going to stay at that level.”
Speaking of MP Lake’s future, Browne said, “We have our doubts as to Teco’s fitness as well … on the basis that both Sir Lester and Teco are unfit to run then clearly, they would not be able to run,” he said.
Sir Lester is the current MP for St. John’s Rural East while Lake is the representative for St. John’s Rural South.
The prime minister said that two of the new faces would fill those constituencies. Earlier, OBSERVER media was told that Darryl Matthew was the person the ABLP was considering as Lake’s replacement. The PM did not confirm this yesterday.
When that was disclosed in July, Lake had said he would run as an independent candidate if the ABLP pushed him out.
Another likely new candidate – which PM Browne confirmed – is his wife, Maria Bird-Browne. But, if she decides to opt out at the last minute, there’s another female political hopeful who has interest in the St. John’s Rural East constituency, according to the ABLP leader.
Browne however said that he is confident that his wife has the stamina for politics, even as he reflected on the fact that she immediately put on hold her charity work following public criticism and questions about the planned joint venture with the government to help female entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, he said, “We are trying to see if we could get at least one or two additional female candidates which will increase our complement of female candidates, we would like to get at least three.”
(More in today’s Daily Observer)