Browne mobilising to take over from Bird
Antigua Labour Party chairman declares his leadership intentions.
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Friday June 08, 2012 – Chairman of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) Gaston Browne has denounced suggestions that he is manoeuvring to assume leadership of the party. Instead, he is “mobilising for the inevitable achievement” since current leader Lester Bird is seemingly in the departure lounge.
Browne, the ALP’s deputy political leader, made this distinction clear to some of his colleagues, including Molwyn Joseph and Robin Yearwood, who he believes are afraid to declare their intentions.
“I am not afraid to say I am mobilising for leadership because it will happen. My leadership aspirations are known and I am not going to hide about them. I am not doing anything behind the scenes. Manoeuvring is doing it in secret and manipulating to get there and I believe in transparency,” the ALP chairman said.
The matter first came under discussion last week when MPs Joseph and Yearwood expressed disappointment that a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer did not come to fruition because Bird fell ill.
Browne said he viewed his colleagues’ statement as a call for a leadership convention that should have been put to the party’s leader first.
When he made his interpretation public, his colleagues Joseph and Yearwood said he was wrong and was using them as scapegoats to raise the issue since he is the one seeking leadership.
“Whereas I have expressly stated my leadership intentions, there are others who have similar ambitions, but are too afraid to state those ambitions so they are clandestinely manoeuvring, and so from time to time they will make statements that will suggest the intentions. But clearly, for whatever reasons, they appear to be afraid to say publicly they have leadership ambitions and they wish to pursue those ambitions,” Browne said.
“I don’t believe I have to justify that statement. I believe that all right-thinking Antiguans and Barbudans would conclude there are several members within the ALP who have leadership ambitions and whereas I have expressly stated my position, there are others who are manoeuvring clandestinely, perhaps with the hope of throwing the hat in the ring,” he added.
Browne said given the current structure of the party, he is confident he is next in line behind Bird to take the reins of the ALP and ultimately become the country’s leader.
“Seniority has nothing to do with how long you have been with the party, or experience. By virtue of my position as chairman and deputy political leader I am and will always be senior to my colleagues. There is only one leader,” he stated, adding that he valued the relationship with his colleagues.