While some residents are encouraging Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, the former MP for St. Mary’s South, to accept a challenge to debate Samantha Marshall, the Antigua Labour Party candidate whom he defeated in the recent General Election, most of his supporters are advising Marshall to retire gracefully.
On Sunday night, July 2, Marshall reportedly issued a statement – via the electronic and social media – challenging Simon to engage with her in a public debate. This, she claims, would demonstrate the spirit of open democracy and a commitment to serving the constituents of St. Mary’s South.
While there has been no “official” response from Simon, so far, he laughingly tells REAL News that Marshall’s challenge is not even worth a comment; but he realizes she is using the debate as a means to regain relevance.
In the meantime, however, the public has responded via social media, with many persons – including constituents – attacking the former Labour Party minister’s track record. They charge that she did little to nothing during her two terms in office and is now asking the people to re-elect her for a third term of nothingness.
One woman quips that everything has an expiration date, and January 18 was Marshall’s; therefore, she should just move on.
The ALP representative was given two terms in office, a man says, but her constituents do not believe that she was genuine in her leadership.
He notes that she should have seen her numbers declining since the 2014 victory, and he advises that she stop allowing her political leader to make her a fool.
In that vein, a suggestion was made for Marshall, an attorney, to retire from politics and run her law firm, instead.
Some who weighed in suggest that, since Simon appears to be leading, his opponent now wants to play catch-up in the race to the by-election.
Others are reminding Marshall that she does not call the shots, and so she should simply go in a corner and relax until the day of her second defeat.
Meanwhile, the ALP contender says the proposed debate aims to provide an opportunity for both candidates to share their plans and programs for the constituency – fostering transparency and enabling voters to make an informed decision.
However, critics note that Simon already outlined a slew of plans for the constituency during his recent town-hall meeting in Urlings. Should Marshall wish to learn more, they say, the UPP candidate will be hosting a public rally on Thursday night, July 6, in Bolans, and she is welcome to attend.
Others are reminding Marshall that she is only six months off the campaign trail, and so the voters already heard her plans and soundly rejected them at the polls.
Simon, who joined the UPP slate only in August last year – five months before the January 18 General Election – beat Marshall by almost 200 votes.