Both the United Progressive Party (UPP) and the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) seem to be passing the blame about which party started a confrontation in St Mary’s South over the weekend.
The Parliamentary Representative for the area ABLP’s Samantha Marshal said on Sunday, that the St Mary’s South Branch hosted its usual weekend buzz activity, which serves as an event to meet, greet, and socialize with the Member of Parliament and branch members.
She said the “positive” event suddenly became sullied because of a prominent supporter of UPP “who pull up to our event while they were passing with confrontation, abuse, and physical violence”
Marshall said the supporter approached the ABLP branch, verbally abused and threatened members and constituents present, particularly the women, and even assaulted her as the Parliamentary Representative.
“His hate and anger then turned to a female constituent some distance away. In his rage and anger, he rushed over to the woman and became physically violent to the extreme of severely causing damage to her head and limbs. Egregiously and most deplorable, the UPP supporter did this in front of her children and neighbors. Members of the community took action to bring him under control until the police arrived,” she said.
According to the MP, the man was arrested and is now in custody, and the constituent was taken to the hospital for treatment, however, she is doing well.
But the UPP said in a statement hours later, that it was the ABLP operatives who “provoked, intimidated and assaulted supporters of the UPP”.
In their version of what transpired, the UPP said the party’s weekly Business Pull-Up initiative was well underway in St Marys South and its route was approved by the police.
“The route for this UPP initiative had been approved by the police who also accompanied the caravan. As the mobile gathering was nearing its close, an altercation occurred between two persons. This confrontation appears to have been an orchestrated effort by ABLP operatives to provoke, intimidate and assault supporters of the UPP,” the party said in a statement to the press.
The party said since late August, the UPP has successfully staged 8 similar events in other constituencies to highlight and support small business owners, without incident.
“At no time during the altercation did Marshall and her team attempt to defuse the tension. Instead, MP Marshall was quick to sow seeds of division by defending her team while making a statement that completely twists the truth,” the statement claimed.
The party said further that they are all about peace, especially now, saying, “the UPP takes pride in organizing peaceful events that engage and empower the people. The Party is vehemently opposed to any politically motivated violence, particularly ahead of the general elections”
The leadership of the UPP is also calling for Marshall to act responsibly by condemning the disruptive ALP operatives who provoked the confrontation. We encourage her to find meaningful opportunities to empower these young people to become more productive in uplifting their community.
“We believe that every Antiguan and Barbudan has a right to peacefully organize, march and support their political beliefs – but no one has the right to violently attack their political opponents,” said UPP Political Leader Harold Lovell.
“Unfortunately, the small businesses in Bolans were denied the opportunity to participate in this initiative that has been effective in helping many small enterprises generate more sales, new customers and build community pride,” said Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, UPP Candidate for St. Mary’s South.
“The UPP will continue to host the weekly “Small Business Pull Up,” in a peaceful and organized manner that is guaranteed by our Constitution,” he added.
Wait….. Its election season yet? lmao