To ensure fairness and parity among political candidates, reformation of the boundaries in the 16 constituencies on Antigua is needed, according to attorney-at-law Leon Chaku Symister.
Following the recent General Elections, the combined opposition – the United Progressive Party (UPP), the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM), and independent candidate Asot Michael – garnered more votes than the incumbent Antigua Labour Party (ALP).
The winning ALP received 20,050 votes, while the opposition pooled a total of approximately 22,000 votes, which, Symister says, demonstrated the mood of the people.
However, Symister blames this loss by the popular vote on the disparity within the respective constituencies, and the reason for the lopsided results, he says, is the disproportionate boundaries.
Symister, a member of the Antigua and Barbuda Boundaries Commission, says this cannot continue; and once the United Progressive Party is able to regain office, this will be seriously addressed.
It is unfair that some constituencies have as few as 1,200 people registered while others have over 5,000 electors. Accordingly, the attorney says the constituencies should be defined more equitably.
Many residents and UPP candidates were disappointed to see the country go into yet another election without changes being made to the boundaries across Antigua.
Symister has said the body was constituted too late – which did not allow enough time for the Commission to do the work required by law and to effect the kind of changes required for equitable polling.
He notes, however, that keeping the boundaries where they are gives certain candidates an unfair advantage in elections.