St. John’s Antigua- Eugene Humphreys, the self-styled “Minister of Helps”, has finally gotten the permission he’d been seeking for several months to stage a public march.
On Thursday, Antigua & Barbuda’s best known “serial marcher” told OBSERVER Media of his latest application, submitted to the commissioner of police on Tuesday, saying he expected or hoped for an answer by Friday.
Humphreys wants to demonstrate against government’s handling of the fences and buildings report, among other gripes.
His application to mount the protest action was repeatedly turned down by police, who said they first needed to investigate Humphreys’ own report of a threat against his life.
But an elated Minister of Helps told The Big Stories yesterday that Commissioner Vere Brown gave him to the nod to proceed on Thursday next week, May 3.
Although he’s just been given permission for that particular day, Humphreys is already talking about marching every Thursday. “I’m appealing to the people to come out. The march is on. Put on your walking shoes. Come on out in numbers. I know I normally do not have numbers, but it will be numbers on that day. And I want to say that it’s going to be every Thursday.”
He would clarify that the permission granted yesterday “is for just this Thursday,” and “I will send in another application for the next Thursday.”
Humphreys said many people share his concerns on the issues he is seeking to highlight with the march, and he hopes this will be reflected in the numbers who turn out to participate. “The support is mainly on the citizens of this country, who have been crying out; who have been on the radio and talking about all the different ills and the problems that are going on in the country. I am hoping an trusting that they all come out.”
Admitting that his marches “never have a lot of people,” Humphreys said they have nonetheless been highly effective. “Numbers is one thing, but the effectiveness is another thing. I could have 5,000 people and it’s not effective, whereas I could have 10 people that is very much effective.”
With that in mind he announced, “I’m calling the troops out, I’m calling the churches out. Matter of fact, I’ll be sending out letters to the different groups and organizations.”
Humphreys however cited one misgiving with the approval for his march. The police slightly amended his proposed route, but he says he can live (and certainly march) with that.