21st August 2012, St. John’s Antigua- As the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) gears up for Barbuda Council elections, due March 2013, the resident party leader has said a change in leadership is necessary for the betterment of the sister isle.
“In my estimation, the BPM (Barbuda People’s Movement) has been there for a long time…I think it is about time to make the change from the BPM to another group,” head of the ALP branch, Senator Arthur Nibbs, said in an interview with OBSERVER Media.
Even though the ALP has not held a majority seat on the Council since 1996—when it held the majority for one year—Nibbs still believes that their “prospects are good”.
“The economy is down all over, but it is worse here in Barbuda. What the people are saying is that the current Council has not made an attempt to bring themselves out of this,” the senator said.
He added, “They keep relying on the central government of Antigua for finance and they themselves are in trouble.”
The senator said if the ALP were to regain a majority, securing foreign direct investment to “firm up the economy” in Barbuda would be first on the agenda.
In an election primary Sunday, six ALP stakeholders vied for the five positions that need to be filled come March 23’s Council elections.
Candidate Bernie Newton led the pack, racking up 82 of 82 votes, followed by Calvin Gore with 75 votes, David Shaw with 67 votes, and Elvis Burton and Tyrone Beazer with an unspecified number of votes.
Young member of the party, Adrian Lee, was not amongst the names called to represent the ALP in the elections—being the lone candidate not to secure a spot.
Nibbs registered disappointment that the newcomer would not be a part of the race, saying, “We were hoping that he (Lee) would have made it…He is young and a university graduate and one who we figured would have brought a lot to the table. So it seemed a lot of people were surprised that he did not make it.”
The party will finalise a manifesto that will detail the issues it will be highlighting in the impending elections. By mid-September Nibbs said the Barbuda branch will be “hitting the ground” with its political campaigning.
Barbuda Council elections are held every two years.