Delay in swearing-in Simon appears to be political, Symister says, and a time frame for oath-taking needs to be established

The delayed swearing-in of Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, the recently re-
elected representative for St. Mary’s South, is as a political move by
the Gaston Browne Administration, as far as attorney Leon Chaku
Symister is concerned.

Simon made history by becoming the first candidate to win two
elections in one year, when, on October 24, he trounced the Antigua
Labour candidate by 174 votes, dashing Prime Minister Gaston
Browne’s hopes of capturing the seat.

Despite the time lag, says Symister, Simon automatically became a
member of the House of Representatives once the Writ of Elections
was returned to the Governor-General on October 25.

However, he notes that, based on the Standing Orders of the Lower
House, the oath of office must be taken before a new MP is allowed
to participate in parliamentary proceedings.
According to Symister, the current political delay appears to be in
line with what took place following the January 18, 2023, General
Elections, when the Opposition MPs were not sworn in until mid-
Symister, the United Progressive Party (UPP) spokesman on legal
matters, says the Party has been “dancing on a stage of popularity”
over the past several months and the people remain “hyped up.”
To have the swearing-in take place now, and to bring scores of
people to the Parliament to witness Simon’s oath-taking, would be
another slap in the face for the Antigua Labour Party government, he
Meanwhile, he explains that when a person is voted in at a by-
election, the Parliament is already in place; so it is basically a matter
of having the new member sworn in at the earliest possible time.
However, Symister says there is absolutely no legitimate excuse for
the length of time it is taking to have Simon officially seated as an
According to the attorney, this action by the Government bench
clearly shows that there is a need for Constitution reform – and for
the establishment of a time frame in which a newly elected MP
should take the oath of office.
To underscore his point, he notes that senators can be selected and
sworn in on the same day.
In this regard, the UPP spokesperson says, members of the Lower
House should be accorded greater priority, since they were elected
by the people and not selected by any particular entity.