Opposition stages march demanding general election in Antigua
ST JOHN’S – The leadership of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) led supporters in a demonstration here late Monday evening demanding that Prime Minister Gaston Browne announce the date for fresh general elections in Antigua and Barbuda.
The move by the UPP comes as the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) observed its third anniversary in office and Prime Minister Browne being dismissive of the call for the snap poll.
“The number one objective of this gathering here today is to draw attention to the fact that the people of Antigua and Barbuda are dissatisfied with the present regime and we need to draw attention to the fact that this Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party would’ve failed the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Opposition Leader Baldwin Spencer told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) ahead of the “Black March.”
The march coincided with a ceremony where Prime Minister Browne and members of his cabinet were handing over keys to new homeowners in his St John’s City West constituency.
The 48 homes were part of a housing project that was initially a 500 homes in 500 days campaign promise. The handover was the capstone to a series of events commemorating the anniversary of the party’s success at the June 12, 2014 polls.
Many protestors expressed concern over a number of issues, including inadequate water supply, allegations of police corruption and a sitting minister being accused of sexual assault.
Police said that the demonstration was attended by at least 2 000 people and UPP political leader, Harold Lovell said he was pleased with the turnout.
He said his party wanted to send a clear message to the prime minister and his administration.
“There have been too many broken promises. There has not been any development,” Lovell told CMC, adding “they promised us investment; there’s been no investment.
“They promised jobs; there’re no jobs and what they have done is decide that they are going to concentrate on enriching themselves and we’re totally against that.”
Opposition legislator Chester Hughes called on Prime Minister Brown “to call the election now.
“If he (Browne) thinks he has the testicular fortitude, call the elections now and he will see how many people hate him.”
The march culminated at Parliament Drive with a festive rally featuring popular local artistes and prominent party members and candidates who criticised the governing party and pleas for an early election.
Monday’s “Black March” included a delegation from “The Movement” – a group of concerned citizens that advocates for good governance and accountability. (CMC)