Guyanese, especially those who live in Antigua have a better relationship with the Labour government than Baldwin Spencer’s United Progressive Party (UPP).
The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) is back in power after ten years. Last Thursday the electorate fired Baldwin Spencer’s United Progressive Party (UPP) and returned the ABLP under the new leadership of 47-year-old Gaston Browne. It was a landslide victory of 14-3. Only Spencer, his former deputy Wilworth Daniel and newcomer Joanne Massiah won their seats.
Spencer was known to be a leftist leader and was associated with Cuba’s Castro, and the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. He was also closely associated with St Vincent and Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and the countries of the two OECS leaders were members of Alba, a movement started by Castro and Chávez that was later joined by Dominica and St Lucia.
Spencer, the 63-year-old Labour leader had previously fought vigorously to remove the ABLP from office which had been in power for 28 long years. He organized several demonstrations and strikes. He even went on a hunger strike to change the electoral system, but after two terms the electorate decided to have a change and choose Browne, who two years ago defeated Lester Bird as leader of the ABLP.
Browne was very emotional when he took the oath of office and his first words were: “To God Be the Glory. Today is the dawn of a new day.” Veteran lawyer Stedroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin was sworn in as Attorney General, minutes after the Prime Minister.
The twin island state is encountering severe economic problems and Prime Minister Browne and his administration will have an uphill task to bring the country back to the booming business it once enjoyed. Tourism is the major revenue earner and the country is world famous for its beautiful beaches. It is said that there are 365 of them. Cricket is the No 1 sport and the country boasts of four cricketing knights in the form of Sir Vivian Richards known as ‘Master Blaster’ for his aggressive batting; Sir Richie Richardson, another hardhitting batsman; and pacebowlers, Sir Andy Roberts, and Sir Curtly Ambrose. It was at the Antigua Recreational Centre where Brian Lara broke the world record of scoring the most runs in Test cricket on two occasions.