ST JOHN’S, Antigua – – Prime Minister
has announced March 21 as the date for fresh elections in Antigua and Barbuda, three and a half years after his ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) won the last general elections.
Brown made the announcement at a rally here on Saturday night.
In an immediate reaction, the leader of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) Harold Lovell said the government had failed to deliver on its 2014 promises, “deeply disappointing even the diehard supporters of the Labour Party.
‘”Life is harder than ever after four years of this wicked government,” Lovell, a former finance minister said, telling supporters that a UPP government would provide a better standard of living for all Antigua and Barbudans.
“Use this election opportunity to vote wisely, consider what you had yesterday, how much you have lost today and whether you and your children will lose or gain tomorrow . . . ,” Lovell said
In the 2014 general election, Browne led the ABLP to a convincing 14-3 defeat of the ruling UPP, led by then prime minister Baldwin Spencer, who last week, formally bowed out of active politics.
In that election, there were 41 candidates representing five political parties including the UPP, ABLP, the Antigua and Barbuda True Labour Party (ANTLP) the Antigua Barbuda People’s Movement (ABPM) and Missing Link VOP.
“Our primary purpose for calling the election early is not about politics, it is about development,” Browne said, indicating that in 2018, the government had already earmarked EC$1.5 billion for projects, adding “we have to protect that.
“We can’t allow the destructive forces to stymie the progress we have made,” he said, noting that the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is projecting that economic growth here this year would be at 5.6 per cent.
Browne said that in 2019, a further EC$1.5 billion in investment is anticipated, saying “what this country needs at this time is stability and continuity,” adding ‘to make any change is to reverse all the gains we have made . . . ”.