By Makeida Antonio
A prominent youth leader known for his community activism and social entrepreneurship has embarked on his political journey in Antigua and Barbuda by signalling his political debut.
Co-founder and CEO of Nolan Hue Foundation, Regis Burton, joined the race set by the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) in the constituency of St Peter, where an ongoing poll is in motion to select the candidate to represent the party in the next general election.
Burton, 30, disclosed that Prime Minister Gaston Browne approached him last year about stepping up to serve the constituency.
“I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t the most active member of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party. How all of this started though – probably a year ago, I went to the Prime Minister, had a general discussion with him, expressed my interest in getting more involved in Antigua and how I can assist,” Burton said in an exclusive interview on ‘Connecting with Dave Lester Payne’ yesterday.
Prime Minister Browne also indicated to Burton that he would join Rawdon Turner and Shermain Jeremy in the ruling party’s constituency poll about two weeks ago since they all have familial ties to the community.
“I’m from St Peter’s, the general discussion came up and he said he would let me know when the time is right,” Burton stated.
His expectation is that by showcasing his desire to contribute to his community, other youth leaders in Antigua and Barbuda will be inspired to make a positive change instead of leaving the country’s shores and abandoning their commitment to the nation’s development after attaining tertiary education.
“I could have easily fallen into the brain drain. Antigua has this brain drain problem where our greatest talent is just going away, but my home is here, my family is here, here is where I grew up and it’s not in me to turn my back on Antigua and Barbuda,” he explained.
Burton believes that any citizen should rise to the occasion and contribute to nation building wherever possible once they reside in the country.
“I think that if I’m not going to leave, then I need to play a part and I need to add value to the overall landscape of things, so that’s why I haven’t left,” he explained.
The former National Under-19 Cricket Captain and 2016 Queen’s Young Leader Awardee told Observer that his experiences in community development and national representation are assets.
“I can’t see things going in a way where there are things I can add value to and not add value. I’ve gotten so much from this country, I’m a son of the soil, I’ve represented us across the world and I think it’s just now time that I bring all of those international, regional and national experiences into the community and just replicate it and see the success happen,” Burton said.
Burton is a member of several local organisations including Project Sync, National Youth Forum, Liberta Sports Club, Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission, National Clean Up Committee, National Youth Rally Committee, and is currently a One Young World Ambassador.