Shugy is the ‘big talk’ with second election victory in one year, as hundreds turn out for counting

As the United Progressive Party predicted on By-Election Day in St.
Mary’s South, its candidate, Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, was re-elected to
the House of Representatives before midnight on Tuesday, October

Formal confirmation came in a declaration from the Antigua and
Barbuda Electoral Commission on Tuesday night; but hundreds of
residents had already converged on the counting house –the Urlings
Primary School – and witnessed history in the making:

This by-election win – his second in one year – puts Simon in the
history books as the first-ever political candidate to achieve this

After a campaign that lasted almost the full 120 days allowed by the
Constitution, Simon went into this contest confident that the voters
who sent him to Parliament on January 28 would do it again.

When he emerged from Division A, Bolans – the Antigua Labour
Party’s stronghold in St. Mary’s South – with a 38-vote lead, by-
election watchers told REAL News they began to exhale.
Simon went on to capture the other two Divisions, significantly
widening the gap between him and Labour Party candidate Dwayne
George, in Division C, Johnsons Point.

At the end of the night, the UPP standard-bearer had amassed 1,065
votes against his opponent’s 891.

However, both Simon and pundits had observed that the race had
not been between Simon and George, but Simon and Prime Minister
Gaston Browne and his resources.

“For all the money that Labour Party spent on this campaign –
including the inducements – they got a very small return on their
investments,” a woman quipped at the end of the count.

She was referring to the fact that the previous Labour Party MP and
former candidate, Samantha Marshall, had captured 862 votes in the
January 18 General Election, while George increased this share only
by 29.

Meanwhile, Simon, in an interview after the count, said he felt
“vindicated” by his election victory since Prime Minister Browne
had called his first win a fluke.

The St. Mary’ South MP had resigned from the Lower House on June
7, triggering the by-election in his constituency.

After legal challenges about the legitimacy of his election – since he
had not resigned his civil-service position before Nomination Day –
Simon elected to resign and go back to the people for their decision
at the polls.

He will be sworn in as the parliamentary representative for St.
Mary’s South at the next sitting of Parliament.