Antigua and Barbuda will hold parliamentary elections on March 21, according to an announcement made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne during a party rally late Saturday. Browne said the early legislative elections come to protect the many plans his Antigua Labour Party, ALP, has programed for this year and the and next. “We have an opportunity at this point to consolidate the leadership of this country, to provide investors with predictability, to prove stability, to provide continuity, and that’s the main reason why we’re going to the polls early,” Browne told a cheering crowd of supporters.
The Antigua Labour Party (ALP) has sought legal counsel on the government’s interpretation of the constitutional office of the supervisor of elections and its ultimate decision to strip the holder of significant responsibilities thought to have been “understood” as being part of the job title. The legal opinions will come from Elliott Mottley of Barbados, Anthony Astaphan of Dominica, and Sir James Guthrie of Britain.
The party was poised to host a press conference on Tuesday, but cancelled in anticipation of the legal opinion, which will determine whether or not it has sufficient grounds to challenge the government’s legislative changes in court.
Antigua St John’s – Two bills are down for debate when the House of Representatives convenes on Wednesday November 16 for the final sitting in the second session of Parliament of the United Progressive Party’s second term.Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer will move the second and third readings of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2011, while Finance, Economy and Public Administration Minister Harold Lovell will move the first, second, and third readings of the Social Security (Amendment) Act, 2011.
Chairman of the Antigua & Barbuda Electoral Commission Juno Samuel, in a wide-ranging interview with Caribarena, dealt frankly with challenges facing ABEC in the run-up to the general elections constitutionally due in 2014.
The ABEC chairman identified philosophical differences between members of the Commission as the most critical of these challenges. Samuel maintains that the continuing uncertainty over the ultimate position of former chairman – now ordinary member – Sir Gerald Watt has not in any way hindered the Commissioners’ approach to their work.
However, he pinpoints the philosophical divide over the powers and proper functioning of the chairman in particular as posing a significant – if not preponderant – obstacle to progress.
Minister of Gender Affairs Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro has said the highest corridors of power throughout the region continue to reflect unacceptably low levels of female representation, despite recognition of their positive influence in building democracy and fostering social programmes.
“There is an absence of a critical mass of women in ministerial positions as the movers and shakers of Caribbean political economies,” the minister noted during a workshop on Thursday at the City View Hotel to promote women’s participation in politics for good governance.