Jamale Pringle, United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for All Saints East & St. Luke, says he is unfazed by the defacing of his billboard yesterday, December 22, reportedly by operatives of his Antigua Labour Party (ALP) opponent.
The billboard, which is located in Swetes Village, at the junction of the Wesleyan Holiness Church and the Buckleys Main Road, was erected only on Wednesday, and was the first of the UPP’s signboards to go up.
The vandals – alleged to have been young men in a white Toyota Rush jeep that bore the license plate R 50 – were seen stapling posters of the ALP candidate, Colin James, and of his party’s emblem.
Reportedly, they were run off by persons nearby who sounded the alarm.
Pringle tells REAL News he is undaunted by the act. In fact, he says, he is encouraged. “What this tells me,” he says, “is that they realize they are behind. So they will do anything to try to stop my progress.”
But that will not happen, he says, as he is too busy doing what he needs to do to remain ahead. Accordingly, he tells our Newsroom that his campaign manager and team will handle the investigation and reports of the vandalism.
“What I don’t want to happen is any type of retaliation,” Pringle says. “I’m not interested in getting into a billboard war. I am interested in reaching the people through the issues. And the people of All Saints East & St. Luke will know what to do when the day comes,” he says.
In two earlier instances, billboards belonging to the ALP and to UPP Candidate Alister Thomas were defaced by the same paint-like substance in City East and City West, respectively.
Residents speculated that both acts were perpetrated by the same person(s), with some saying it would be “just like the ALP” to ruin its own poster simply to gain public sympathy.
Meanwhile, UPP Mobilization Officer George Wehner is appealing to “the decent elements within the ALP” to call a halt to this type of behaviour, which he says is “beneath the UPP.”
He says it is ironic that a Labour Party poster “that tells the people they are safer” would be used to perpetrate what amounts to “a criminal activity.”
Further, Wehner says, it is quite telling that, in order to achieve visibility and get attention, the ALP operatives have had to affix their candidate’s poster to Pringle’s billboard.