The Cabinet has announced that an investigation will be launched into the high number of electors transferred into the St. Peter constituency – and amused residents allege that the Antigua Labour Party (ALP)is being beaten at its own game.
Cabinet members say they have been informed by Labour Party scrutineers of an unusually high number of voters who have transferred their registration to St. Peter – which is represented by beleaguered MP Asot Michael.
Michael has taken the Labour Party to Court to block efforts to exclude him from its slate of candidates in the upcoming elections. However, Prime Minister Gaston Browne has defied court orders and named newcomer Rawdon Turner as the party’s representative.
Accordingly, it is expected that MP Michael will contest the seat as an independent candidate.
“The Cabinet will launch an investigation, and the candidate will prosecute ‘claims and objections’ of those who have untruthfully and unlawfully transferred their registration to that constituency while remaining resident in another,” the Executive warns.
However, political pundits allege that the Labour Party is known for this strategy and has employed it many times in past elections.
Now the shoe is on the other foot, they say, Labour Party candidates want to have an investigation; but they have never sought to probe such allegations made by other political parties.
They recall when Prime Minister Browne voted in the St. John’s City West constituency, claiming that he was resident on Bay Street, Villa, when, they allege, he actually lived in St. John’s Rural North.
Earlier this year, Browne also stated that Antiguan workers employed on the Peace Love and Happiness (PLH) project would be allowed to transfer their registration to Barbuda and vote in that constituency next elections.
Barbudans protested that this was a ploy to pad the voters list and give the Labour Party an unfair advantage to win the elusive seat.
Accordingly, members of the Barbuda People’s Movement say they have been keeping an eye on registration and, to date, nothing untoward has transpired.