Rivera leaves DNA for ALP, reportedly with a view to replace Fernandez; critics say his move is motivated by self-interest

A fifth prominent member of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has left the organization, this time jumping ship to the ruling Antigua Labour Party (ALP).

Reports say that Louis Rivera defected, after having tendered his resignation on February 6, three weeks after the January 18 General Election.

It is widely believed that Rivera could replace Charles “Max” Fernandez, the ALP parliamentary representative for St. John’s Rural North, who has indicated that this is his last term in office.

Rivera contested this seat on the DNA ticket in the past two elections: 2018 and 2023.  Prime Minister Gaston Browne reportedly has told him that now is the best time to position himself if he wishes to contest after Fernandez leaves.

According to the former DNA candidate, the Labour Party is a party of big dreams and big ideas, and is the best choice, especially for young people.

However, many people see Rivera’s move as motivated by self-interest and opportunism.

A Rural North resident notes that Rivera contested two elections on the DNA ticket; and, yet, not once has she ever seen him.  She says it appears that he wants to hold public office without putting in the work, and knows that, under the ALP, money will be spent to secure votes for him.  

Referencing the political move, the Northsider says she is hard-pressed to understand how – after criticizing a party and “saying all manner of evil against it” – some people can still feel comfortable to sleep with the devil himself.

According to her, not even hell will have a place for people like these, whom she describes as “lower than slugs.”

Ironically, following the earlier resignations of several members of the DNA, Rivera appeared on social media to condemn them and, in one instance, reportedly referred to a member’s departure as a “cleansing.”

The former political leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) once referred to the DNA as an arm of the Antigua Labour Party.  And some residents are now predicting that others in the orange party will also jump ship and find their way to the same Labour Party they have accused of wrongdoing.

Former First Vice President Bruce Goodwin; Chairwoman Malaka Parker; General Secretary Gatesworth James; and Mobilization Officer Kelton Dalso all tendered their resignations from the DNA late last year (2022).  

Subsequently, Goodwin formally became a member of the UPP.