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Antigua PM rejects call for fixed date for general election

Antigua PM rejects call for fixed date for general election

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Prime Minister Gaston Browne has brushed aside suggestions from a minority opposition party here calling for a fixed date for general elections in Antigua and Barbuda.

“Any constitutional change that my government will pursue, must be driven by the masses and not by political opponents. Our political opponents do not have the level of maturity and sophistication to pursue constitutional changes in a non-partisan manner, in the interest of the state,” Browne said.

Last week, opposition legislator Joanne Massiah, the leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) responding to an earlier statement by Browne that the polls “will come like a thief in the night” said that general elections here should be held on a fixed date.

“The DNA is fully committed to doing away with this concept of a prime minister having exclusive determination as to when an election is called,” Massiah said, adding “we want elections to be fixed so that the people will know that the elections are due every five years and in March, April, May, June or whatever the month is elections are due”.

Browne told the newspaper that based on the fallout and eventual non-support from the opposition for the referendum on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), he does not believe his opponents would be committed to pursuing this other matter that’s equally important.

“This was clearly demonstrated by the political games that were played leading up to the aborted CCJ referendum. It is noteworthy, that the United Progressive Party (UPP) has failed to respond to our request for a bipartisan approach to transition to the CCJ, based on the espoused support of its leadership,” he said.

He described the opposition as immature, adding “talk the talk but will never walk the walk”.