Billboards erected by the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) continue to topple over in certain areas, creating a hazard for motorists and pedestrians alike.
On Thursday, January 5, one of the party’s billboards – located on Dickenson Bay Street across from the Princess Margaret School – fell onto the roadway.
At the time it fell, a man was travelling westward in his vehicle and, reportedly, the huge structure almost struck his vehicle.
Reports say that a clean-up crew was quickly deployed to remove the fallen billboard from the roadway, which is a busy thoroughfare for motorists and for heavy container travelling to and from the Port.
Meanwhile, some residents have complained that the billboards were not erected properly and are posing a danger to life and property.
One woman says the situation on Dickenson Bay Street could have been worse if the nearby school had already dismissed for the day, with students walking in that area.
The toppled billboard bore the image of City East incumbent Melford Nicholas, and other persons jokingly expressed the notion that the fallen structure could be a sign of what is to come on Election Day, January 18.
However, another billboard also fell on Thursday – this one for Sean Bird, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate in St. John’s Rural East. Unconfirmed reports claimed that, prior to the fall, a ladder had been seen mounted against the structure.
Meanwhile, PM Gaston Browne took to his Facebook page to accuse the Opposition party of toppling ALP billboards, claiming that it is destabilizing the structures.
Even before the election date was announced, however, about four billboards had keeled over, with one in Bolans falling onto the high-tension wires, which kept it from toppling onto the roadway.
In the meantime, residents are being cautioned against destroying election paraphernalia, including billboards. The Police say that persons caught damaging or defacing election billboards and other materials will face charges.
Members of the public should note that it is an offence – according to Section 33 of Chapter 405 of the Small Charges Act – for any person to unlawfully and maliciously commit damage to any personal property.
Anyone found in contravention of this Act shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.
Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney is therefore appealing to those involved to desist from this unlawful practice and to respect the rights and privileges of everyone in our democratic society.
He is also asking all duly nominated candidates and their supporters to conduct themselves in a respectful and responsible manner through the remainder of the election campaign.