Political pundits are anticipating a further fallout between the leadership of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) and St. Peter MP Asot Michael, who has been left off the slate of candidates contesting the next polls.
Reports say the Party held its third Executive Meeting for 2022 on Friday night, March 25, at its Nugent Avenue headquarters and that all Executive Members were invited.
The meeting reportedly was chaired by Political Leader Gaston Browne; Chairman Paul “Chet” Greene; and First Vice Chairman Samantha Marshall, with one of the first agenda items being the selection of candidates for the upcoming general elections.
Rawdon Turner was confirmed the candidate for St. Peter, replacing Michael who has been at loggerheads with the leadership of the Party.
Browne reportedly indicated that a report had been submitted by the Party’s Suitability Committee, and that Michael had been invited to appear before the Committee but had declined.
Reportedly, only Turner made an appearance to be interviewed and he was declared suitable. Because Michael failed to appear, he was not considered and was deemed unsuitable.
This Committee is governed under Regulation 14 of the ALP Constitution and gives it the authority to determine the suitability of prospective candidates when there is more than one person contesting.
It is being claimed that Michael, through his attorney, issued two letters in an attempt to utilize scare tactics to halt the procedure.
However, it was noted that a default judgment, issued by the High Court in March 2022, had ruled that the issue of candidate suitability was not a matter for the court.
The pundits and the public are waiting to see Michael’s next move: whether he will bow out without a fight, call it quits from politics, or run independently. Some say that, knowing Michael, he will not give up that easily.
The sitting MP has been accused of corruption by Prime Minister Browne, who has sworn several times that Michael could not run on any Labour Party slate he heads.
Meanwhile, most of those selected to run on the ticket are incumbent candidates, with a few new names added.
Senator Gail Christian was confirmed for St. John’s Rural West, replacing Londel Benjamin, while Colin James received the nod for All Saints East and St. Luke. Senator Knacyntar Nedd was selected for Barbuda.
The names of the prospective candidates were reportedly ratified and adopted by all members of the Executive.