Winter says laws requiring consultation cannot be discounted, and reminds critics of ALP’s challenge to boundary changes

Community activist Linley Winter says the position held by some
persons – that Pringle and the United Progressive Party (UPP) are
making too much of the appointment of Arthur Thomas – is a
misconception, since the objections are based in the law.

Thomas was officially sworn in as chairman of the Antigua and
Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC), two Fridays ago, to fill the
position left vacant by the death of John Jarvis.
However, Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who selected Thomas, did
not follow the law by consulting with the leader of the Opposition
ahead of the appointment.
Because of Thomas’ involvement with convicted FTX founder and
CEO Sam Bankman-Fried – who is awaiting sentencing this month in
what has been described as the biggest Ponzi scheme in history
–Pringle and the UPP have objected to his appointment to a post that
demands a high level of transparency.
Winter notes that the legal stipulation is for consultation between
the two leaders before such appointments are made, stating that
such preconditions were put in place for a reason.
Pointing out that this is not the only circumstance in which
consultation is required, Winter recalls a challenge brought by the
Antigua Labour Party, in 2014, concerning proposed changes by the
Boundaries Commission.

The Labour Party contested that matter on at least five grounds, and
the Appeal Court ruled in its favour on the ground of insufficient

According to Winter, when such clauses are built into the
framework of a law it is not flippantly done; rather, it is for persons
to understand that specified procedures must be followed.
Further, Winter reminds the critics that a clause in the same law
requires the leader of the Opposition to consult with the prime
minister on his nominee to the position of ABEC deputy chairman.

And while the Opposition leader does not have to agree with the
prime minister’s choice, Winter says that prior consultation on the
selection would negate the type of challenge now presenting itself.

That was community activist Linley Winter.