The Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), E. Paul “Chet” Greene, has asked the public not to be fooled by a press release and an edited video widely circulated by Mr. Asot Michael, an independent candidate for the constituency of St. Peter.
Mr. Greene explained that what the video and press statement by Mr. Asot Michael does not reveal is that for 2 hours yesterday, the ABLP campaign team, which included Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, was deliberately trailed by Mr. Michael.
The ABLP Chairman said, “Mr. Michael’s tactics were completely contrary to the culture of political campaigning long established in Antigua and Barbuda”. He emphasized that the “campaign culture, always respected by the political parties, is that neither side interferes with the other when conversations are being held with potential voters”, adding that “campaigners on both sides give space to the other”.
But Mr. Greene stressed that “Mr. Michael trailed the ABLP team, and eventually entered the home of an elector while the Prime Minister was talking with potential voters and refused to leave or give way”. “In a deliberate act of provocation, Mr. Michael planted himself next to the Prime Minister, restricting him from talking freely,” the ABLP Chairman stated.
“When the Prime Minister asked Mr. Michael to respect honoured traditions and to give him space to talk with the voters, Mr. Michael bluntly refused, causing the Prime Minister to tell him what action he would take if Mr. Michael persisted in his tactics of intimidation and provocation”.
This response by the Prime Minister also came only after Mr. Michael ignored a caution by the Police not to disrupt the peace and to allow others the same freedom to campaign as he is accorded.
Mr. Greene also stated that “Contrary to Mr. Michael’s claim, no armed and masked police subsequently followed Mr. Michael. That is pure invention and part of the new and unwholesome tactics that Asot Michael has introduced into the traditions of peaceful campaigning that political parties in Antigua and Barbuda have always followed”.
The ABLP Chairman said that he would officially inform the Commissioner of Police of Mr. Michael’s “provocative and intimidatory activity with a request that he be warned to desist”.
“The ABLP fully respects Mr. Michael’s right to campaign freely; he must do the same”, Mr. Greene said.