ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Thursday March 22, 2018 – It wasn’t the clean sweep he was hoping for, but Prime Minister Gaston Browne yesterday led his Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) into another term in office, winning 15 out of 17 seats in a poll that also featured a victory for his wife who contested her first election, and a defeat for the leader of the main opposition party.
The preliminary results released by the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) showed that among those winning seats for the ABLP were Maria Bird-Browne, who contested the St John’s Rural East seat that had been held by her uncle, Sir Lester Bird before his retirement from active politics.
But leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) Harold Lovell and his deputy, Wilmoth Daniel, were not so fortunate. They both lost their races in an election that was called more than a year earlier than constitutionally due.
In the one constituency won by the UPP – All Saints East and St. Luke’s constituency – ABLP candidate Colin James challenged the result after losing by 10 votes to Jamal Pringle. However, after a recount, Pringle was confirmed the winner.
Trevor Walker of the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM) – which had formed an alliance with the UPP going into the elections – defeated incumbent Arthur Nibbs of the ABLP to become the representative for the sister isle.
Browne told supporters this morning that it was not time to “gloat about the victory”. Instead, he encouraged all parties to “cooperate toward the betterment of Antigua and Barbuda” and to forego “the division of politics” in order to “reunite” the nation following a swift but divisive campaign.
“Whereas we have our differences, I say to you that those differences should not result in any form of permanent division. So we must be able to forgive those who would’ve offended us. There were many offences during this campaign, but at the same time, I say to you that uniting this country is quintessential to its socioeconomic development,” he said.
“We have to bring all the people together.”
Browne declared today a public holiday.