Although there are different strategies being used by each of the three candidates going up against Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) candidate Dwayne George in the St Mary’s South (SMS) by-election, the general consensus among them is that the announcement of the October 24 by-election date was no surprise.
“It definitely didn’t catch me by surprise, Kelvin ‘Shugy’ Simon told Observer yesterday.
“The Labour Party is giving themselves as much time as possible to try to impress the people of St Mary’s South. They know that they would have done a dismal job in the last 10 years of their rule.”
Simon, the United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate and former SMS Member of Parliament, added that he intends to keep putting in the work necessary to win the seat.
In the January 18, 2023 general election, Simon was elected to office after he defeated the ABLP incumbent, Samantha Marshall. However, on June 7, he resigned the position as parliamentary representative amid a legal battle over his eligibility, thereby triggering a by-election which by law must be held within 120 days.
Another contender for the seat is Andrew Antonio of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), who said that the date was within the expected timeline. Antonio had also contested the seat in the January 18 polls,
“We all expected the by-election date would be between the 20th of October, leading down to the 26th, 27th,” he stated, before adding that he will continue working in the constituency.
“I’m going to continue to do my work, pushing door-to-door, trying to reach as many people as possible, hit radio outlets, media platforms, social media as well, and continue doing my work in my community,” Antonio said.
The third contender — who didn’t run in the January 18 election — Missing Link-Voice Of the People (MLVOP) Nigel Bascus told Observer that the October 24 date gives him more time to connect with the people of St Mary’s South before the by-election.
“It gives me more time to do what I have to do … I’m going to reach out to the people and tell them about how they can solve the water problem in the constituency and the plan for the future of this country with the young people,” Bascus expressed.
Meanwhile, in addition to Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s announcement of the by-election date during Saturday night’s ABLP rally in Urlings, he mentioned George’s efforts to secure jobs for the constituents of St Mary’s South, saying: “He went to Rob Barrett and said to him, ‘I need some jobs for my constituents’… By the time he left there, Rob Barrett committed 100 jobs for the people of St Mary South,” Browne stated.
Observer media contacted George for a comment but he declined to do so.