Friday, 04 May 2012 02:15
By Alex Holder
Antigua St John's - Some two years before elections is scheduled to be called in Antigua and Barbuda, the ruling United Progressive Party has taken to the streets in a not so surprising bid to rally its supporters and reaffirm support for its administration.
Gathered with scores of devotees at the Thwaites’ Corner, Leader of Government PM Baldwin Spencer, along with senior government ministers, Dr. Jacquie Quinn-Leandro, Harold Lovell, Dr. Errol Cort, Winston Williams, and Dr. Edmond Mansoor spurted beneath the political rhetoric the future plans and past accomplishments of the UPP administration and the failures of the pressing opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP).
Thursday night was the first in a series of events by the government to regain support.
Dr. Quinn-Leandro, Minister of Education, called boldly for a critical analysis of the work of the UPP to date and a comparison of that work to the party’s worth as a government.
She toyed with the biblical metaphor of the ills of dwelling in the past by cautioning the people of the country that should they vote the ALP back into office, the country would indeed “turn to salt.”
The looming issue of the power plant played a notable role in all the speeches, although proclaimed by all presenters with the exception of Lovell and Cort to be irrelevant and of no consequence to the strength of the government or its achievements over two terms.
Dr. Edmond Mansoor went as far as to affirm that the “power plant would turn out to be the best achievement of the Baldwin Spencer administration.”
Dr. Mansoor spoke of his contributions as Minister of with responsibility for telecommunications, and pointed to a milestone announcement to be made on May 17 that would undoubtedly shift the country’s current focus from that of the Wadadli Power Plant.
Minister of Sport Winston Williams said he was not only confident in the government’s standings regarding the Plant, but he was especially grateful of the move to deprive “one family” from controlling the flow of power in Antigua and Barbuda.
“The report card is more than well for the United Progressive Party,” proclaimed National Security Minister Dr. Errol Cort. He launched the government’s call for a recommitted pledge from its supporters in preparation for the upcoming mass reregistration drive for all eligible voters in the country.
Dr. Cort also spoke of his accomplishments in the Ministry of National Security and shouted for the people’s backing of a new immigration Bill that will soon be tabled in the House of Assembly aimed at fostering better “cohabitation” of peoples in the country.
Deputy political leader and finance minister Harold Lovell told party supporters that the country remains standing in challenging times and while he pointed out the many setbacks of the nation, he called out opposition MP Robin Yearwood for his “selfish political interference” in development initiatives that could have cost the country hundreds of jobs and millions in investment capital.
This is the second time in two weeks that Lovell has openly named the opposition MP for interfering in the multimillion-dollar beach project.
“Don't allow Robin Yearwood stop development… the people want work,” Lovell said. He even went as extreme as to suggest a national debate on the subject and a referendum from the people on whether the development should go forward.
Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Baldwin Spencer noticeably lead his party from behind on Thursday night as he delivered a thrilling address to supporters who abandoned their shelters and converged in the pouring rain to listen to his verbal assault on the ALP. Spencer focused particularly on ALP leader Lester Bird and senior member Molwyn Joseph.
The PM said he has no need to fear a planned vote of no confidence that will be tabled in parliament by the opposition party against him in the next sitting. The UPP has instead vowed to turn the proposal into a “vote of confidence” in themselves.
He vowed that the UPP would no longer sit idly by and allow the opposition to trample their image and accomplishments but instead it has marked an all-out retaliation.
He said the government’s mission from henceforth is to “reconnect and ensure we move forward” with the people since the opposition seems to sit comfortably in the notion that “our silence somehow gives them the authority and the feeling that they have everything going for them. But let me tell you this thing, we just cranking up this thing.”
“We have had enough of their rhetoric. We have had enough of their nonsense. We are going to take it to them from tonight.”
The PM said the government would not say it has solved all the nation’s problems but he was prepared to commit to the idea of success when viewed in a fair balance of what has happened in the country since 2004.
“The report card looks exciting. And what is good about it is that the ordinary men and women in this country have been the beneficiaries.”
Minister of State Senator Joan Massiah chaired the proceedings. Health Minister Wilmoth Daniel was not present at Thursday night’s rally.
The UPP will continue its efforts on Monday with the annual ‘Labour Day Beach Fiesta’ at Fryres Beach and again on Tuesday with its first town hall meeting in many years beginning at the Princess Margaret Secondary School.