Embattled MPs ‘Shugy’ and Asot Michael make appeal on behalf of their constituents for entry into the oath-taking ceremony

The newly elected Member of Parliament for St. Mary’s South, Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, has personally written to the Clerk of Parliament objecting to the number of invitations he has been given.

Simon defeated the Antigua Labour Party’s Samantha Marshall by 199 votes during the recent elections, and an injunction to prevent him being sworn in on Friday was thrown out by the High Court only on Tuesday, February 14.

A letter sent to Simon on Wednesday – two days before he is expected to take the oath of allegiance – informed him that he – like his Opposition colleagues – would be allowed only 10 guests at the ceremony.

Simon, a first-time parliamentarian, says he and his fellow MPs have since been informed that attendance by invitation has never been the norm.

This situation, he says, has placed him in the awkward and unenviable position of selecting those family members and constituents he wants to witness, in person, his swearing-in.

Simon says he had already informed his constituents that as many as possible could attend Parliament to witness the ceremony.

“The people of St. Mary’s South wish to show out in their numbers to support me in light of the ongoing court battle challenging the legitimacy of my victory,” he writes.

Accordingly, he says, he is hoping that the constituents who convincingly elected him will be allowed inside the halls of Parliament to witness him take the oath.  

Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP) D. Gisele Isaac says that Simon, since the announcement of his candidacy, has had an uphill battle; and, now, persons are trying to steal his joy.

MP Asot Michael has expressed similar sentiments in a letter to the Clerk of Parliament.

Michael says his swearing-in is an event to be celebrated with his family and the constituents who allowed him to make history as the first independent candidate to be elected to the Lower House.

He says he is disappointed at being restricted to having only 10 people present, since he had extended an open invitation to his constituents and expected over 60 people to be in attendance.

Michael, too, is hopeful that those who attend Friday’s swearing-in will be accommodated, as in the past.