Kelvin ‘Shugy’ Simon has unequivocally rejected allegations made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne who has accused him of being self-serving and hedonistic.
Over the weekend, Browne shared seven photos on his professional Facebook page showing Simon in various locations including St Kitts, Niagara Falls, and Toronto.
The United Progressive Party’s Simon is set to face off against the ruling Labour Party’s Dwayne George in the upcoming by-election in St Mary’s South.
The Prime Minister has controversially claimed that Simon’s primary objective in entering politics was to promote himself rather than serve his constituents.
He further alleged that Simon has prioritised partying and showing off, neglecting the needs of the people after winning the seat in January.
However, Simon has strongly refuted these accusations and maintained that his dedication to serving his constituency remains unshakeable.
“Garbage. Cheap politics. The Prime Minister is a spin doctor, and he likes to take things out of context to get political mileage,” Simon told Observer.
“People who know me know that I love enjoying life. Every day that I am alive is a celebration for me. Me partying or doing whatever I do has been part of my lifestyle,” he said.
Simon said where the accusation of excess travelling is concerned, that too is a misrepresentation of the truth.
“If it had not been for politics, there are many more places I would have gone for the year, but I have to stay grounded because of the politics. So, the Prime Minister is just blabbing,” he said.
Former school guidance counsellor and barber Simon says politics has in fact hindered his ability to travel.
“I have been as far as Thailand, Africa…just to see the place and enjoy myself and this was before politics. Politics have slowed me down regarding the amount of travelling I do daily,” he explained.
“Assuming that I got into politics to party is just rambling because I make much less money now that I am into politics,” he added.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle has warned local residents to brace for a smear campaign against Simon in a bid to manipulate the by-election outcome.
“What it is now is desperation because they will do everything and anything. I am not surprised if they release something saying Shugy has done something egregious because they realise the UPP is maintaining its position in winning St Mary’s South,” Pringle said.
He claimed that the people of St Mary’s South have already decided to support Simon, regardless of any “dirty politics” involved.
For its part, the ABLP remains optimistic George will win the seat. The college lecturer and professional bodybuilder unveiled a number of plans for the area at a party campaign event earlier this month.
The other candidates in the poll are Andrew Antonio of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and Nigel Bascus, leader of the Missing Link-Voice of the People party.
Simon won the constituency’s seat in the January 18 election, defeating ABLP incumbent Samantha Marshall by 199 votes, but he resigned on June 7 triggering a by-election.
Simon explained that he resigned to avoid a prolonged legal battle following an election petition filed by the ruling party questioning his eligibility for office.
No date has yet been announced for the by-election but it must by law be held within 120 days of Simon’s resignation.