18th August 2012, St. John’s Antigua- Leader of the Opposition Lester Bird is lauding the work of an OAS delegation, which recently completed a fact-finding mission in Antigua & Barbuda. According to Bird, the work of the delegation (which is performing preliminary assessment on the street-naming and house numbering project) might prevent the United Progressive Party from illegally benefiting from the re-drawing of constituency boundaries before the next general elections.
“The cadastral exercise is a handy tool for determining where boundaries can be established, and the number of people living within a re-drawn constituency,” Bird said. “This could help to make the re-drawing of boundaries a non-contentious issue, if the UPP so wishes.”
The former prime minister was able to meet with a four-member OAS delegation on Thursday, for a reported two hours. Bird took the opportunity to outline the position of the Antigua Labour Party.
“Before boundaries can be fairly adjusted in the 17 constituencies, the report of the 2011 Census must be utilised,” he said.
The Antigua Labour Party has labelled suggested changes to constituency boundaries made by the UPP as “gerrymandering,” and “radical.”
The opposition party has re-issued its threat to seek an injunction from the High Court against the Boundaries Commission, which is planning to submit a report to the speaker of the house. The ALP claims that the report does not state the basis on which boundaries have been re-adjusted.
The OAS delegation’s mission is in Antigua & Barbuda following a request for technical and financial assistance made by the government. The benefits of the street-naming project include the creation of new road maps, the ability to facilitate a functional GPS system, as well as impacts on the electoral preparatory process.