Despite the Prime Minister’s broad hints at early polls, political pundits are saying that the elections, which are constitutionally due in 2023, may not be called before that time.
One pundit bases her position on what PM Gaston Browne has been saying about the water situation.
In 2014, the Antigua Labour Party promised to correct the problem – or improve the availability of water – within its first 14 days in office.
Public Utilities Minister Sir Robin Yearwood even advised residents to vote against a government that is unable to provide that basic need. However, under Yearwood’s leadership, the situation has gotten even worse, the pundit says.
Even political analyst Peter Wickham – seen as an advocate for the Labour Party – has said the country’s water situation could lead to the undoing of the Browne Administration if it is not fixed before the next polls.
Accordingly, Browne is now promising residents that the water problem will be solved by September, barring unforeseen issues. And if there any setbacks, he says, the solution will be in place by the end of the year.
Based on Browne’s pronouncements, another political observer says that campaigning will be for the long haul this time around. There is no way the Prime Minister will call an election without running water 24 hours every day, she says.
Back in 2020, a confident Browne said he would allow Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the United Progressive Party, to set the date of the polls. However, he appears to have backed down from this position, with one insider saying the Prime Minister seems afraid to call the elections.
“It’s like he is waiting until everything is in the Party’s favour before [he names the date],” the source says.
“But he cannot run [away] indefinitely, because there is a constitutionally due date by which the elections must be called,” the source adds. “And whether all is rosy or not … that date must be announced.”
However, based on the time frame given for correcting the water problem, it does not appear that elections will be this year.
Meanwhile – as if forgetting the ALP’s 2014 campaign statements – Browne is now accusing the UPP of making the water situation a political issue.