Political analyst says UPP’s increased numbers in the Lower House is reason to feel good, as electorate shifts away from ALP
Although it did not win last Wednesday’s General Election, the United Progressive Party (UPP) should feel good about increasing its numbers in the Lower House, says political and social analyst Stafford Lewis.
The Party gained six seats this time around, when, in the 2018 polls, it took only one. This, in itself, is a victory for the UPP, other sources say, since the Gaston Browne Administration now has a very slim majority in the Parliament.
Based on the outcome of the polls, Lewis says, it is obvious that in all 17 constituencies, the opposition forces – the UPP, the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM), and the independent candidate, Asot Michael – gained tremendously over the Antigua Labour Party (ALP).
The candidates receiving the highest number of votes were Michael, who contested in St. Peter against three other candidates, and the UPP’s Algernon “Serpent” Watts, who took the St. George seat from the incumbent, Dean Jonas.
Accordingly, Lewis says the current shift – away from the sitting administration – is very clear and very encouraging to the UPP.
In offering advice to the UPP and its supporters, the analyst says they should feel good about having moved the needle – in spite of the tremendous amount of “treating” that took place leading up to the polls.
He says the UPP presented a slate of great candidates who could stand toe to toe with the ALP ticket despite the criticism that Prime Minister Browne levelled against them.
Meanwhile, Lewis is suggesting that the UPP’s first course of action should be engaging the Prime Minister about his plans for the country.
The Labour Party’s manifesto was more of a picture book, with promises to continue what it has been doing over the last four years, Lewis says. But it cannot be business as usual going forward, he warns, since Antigua and Barbuda has its economic challenges.
Therefore, he says, the Opposition and the Government will have to be on the same page, with the aim of charting a development path for all aspects of the society, including education, employment and addressing the water crisis.
Working together will be the only way to move the Nation forward, he concludes.