The defacing of political billboards has escalated, and Algernon “Serpent ” Watts, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. George, is convinced that the acts are being committed by the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) to evoke sympathy.
A large billboard owned by the ALP – and located at the top of Dickenson Bay and Cross Streets – was vandalized late last week. The poster carried an image of Prime Minister Gaston Browne launching an attack on UPP Political Leader Harold Lovell.
Using what appears to be cream-coloured paint – or cement – an unknown person(s) obscured Browne’s face and his message. The substance appears to be the same type used to deface a billboard erected by Browne’ opponent, Alister Thomas, in October, in the St. John’s City West constituency.
Watts believes the placement and the defacement of the ALP billboard – in the City East constituency being contested by Lovell –were strategic decisions to get a discussion started.
The UPP Candidate says he does not condone violence – in politics or otherwise – but the Labour Party should stop indulging in this type of political play just to get sympathy.
Meanwhile, Watts recalls the “predictions” of a Labour Party supporter who hosts a radio programme on a station affiliated with PM Browne. Weeks ago, the man claimed he had information that the UPP was planning to do all sorts of violent things and engage in criminal behaviour.
However, Watts notes that the UPP is not known for this type of politics; rather, it has been part of the Labour Party’s playbook for decades, he says.
Therefore, from the time he heard the man’s declaration on radio, he says, he knew the governing ALP was planning to do something unsavoury.
Watts also reminds the public of two violent incidents under ALP Administrations – the most recent being in August 2021, when residents peacefully protesting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate were tear-gassed and rubber-bulleted by the Police.