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Call for fresh elections

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Call for fresh elections

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Opposition Leader Lester Bird has challenged Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer to call fresh elections.
The Antigua Labour Party (ALP) leader said in his Sunday broadcast that the United Progressive Party (UPP) government has no mandate to carry out some of the measures it has implemented, including an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, and should go back to the polls to seek one.
“If the Spencer regime believes that it is popular and that its programme has the support of the people, then it should not fear elections now that will give it an undisputed mandate,” Bird said.
“Let the word go out to every nook and cranny of our country; to every town and village, to every home and office: the Spencer regime must call elections now and those elections must be free and fair and seen to be free and fair.”
Bird said the ALP is ready for such elections and already has a formulated plan for Antigua and Barbuda’s rejuvenation, regeneration, and reinvigoration.
The Opposition Leader also used his Sunday address to repeat his call for the release of the report submitted by a tribunal that investigated the conduct of three suspended members of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC).
He said it was outrageous that three weeks after receiving the report, Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack had not yet released it.
Bird said the delay demonstrated utter contempt for the people of the country.
The ALP leader therefore called on the Commonwealth and the Organisation of American States (OAS) to get involved in the matter.
“If all that the Commonwealth and the OAS do is send observer missions here on Election Day long after the fixing of electoral lists and other gerrymandering have taken place, all that they will be doing is condoning illegality and the destruction of democracy,” he said.
“We call on the Commonwealth, the OAS and the European Union to act now to help us maintain our democracy.”
The tribunal comprising jurists Paul Harrison, Ian Forte and Lionel Jones completed its work on October 8 after three weeks of hearings.
The former ABEC members who were being investigated – former chairman Sir Gerald Watt QC, his deputy Nathaniel ‘Paddy’ James and Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst – remain on suspension. (CMC)