By Aabigayle McIntosh
The United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate for the St Mary’s South constituency revealed that he turned down at least two offers from the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) to join their ranks.
Kelvin “Shugy” Simon disclosed that these attempts were made shortly after he expressed his interest in becoming the caretaker for the UPP, reaching out to former UPP Political Leader Harold Lovell.
During this period, the party’s caretaker position was held by Corthwright Marshall, a dedicated member of the party.
“They came to me at that juncture thinking I would be vulnerable and that emotions would have taken me over. One of the ministers who is a longtime friend invited me to a meeting, they offered me cash, a Senator position to support the ABLP’s former candidate Samantha Marshall.
“In another election, they told me I could choose either St Mary’s North or South because it would have been a last run for the two ABLP MPs in those areas. They offered me a position on Boards but I did not take it,” Simon claimed.
Simon said he rejected a third invitation to a meeting.
“I know what I stand for, I am a man with principle. The fact that they are trying to buy me means they have no respect for me,” Simon asserted.
During a radio interview on OBSERVER Wednesday, Simon responded to the shocking news from the previous week about his fellow UPP colleague, Dwayne George, switching sides and joining the ABLP.
The ruling party had announced George’s replacement of ABLP Senator Samantha Marshall, who had lost the seat to Simon in January.
Simon revealed that he had been informed about the possibility of this development before the official announcement and had tried to arrange a face-to-face meeting with George.
However, the news broke before the meeting could take place. Simon expressed that the UPP’s branch members and others who admired George are feeling betrayed by his decision.
“People feel betrayed and they are ready to vote against him. They want to send a clear message to him that it is not ok for him to do what he did”, Simon said.
He also emphasized that crossing the political floor in the manner George did is not a good way for potential leader to begin their political journey.
Simon, George and the Democratic National Alliance’s Andrew Antonio will vie in an upcoming by-election, where the people of St Mary’s South will choose their next leader.