ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Tuesday November 8, 2016 – The political future of Antigua and Barbuda Opposition Member of Parliament continues to hang in the balance, as a rift unfolding in the ranks of the United Progressive Party (UPP) involving the embattled MP appears to be deepening.
In the latest twist, the party’s General Council has suspended Joanne Massiah, but party officials have refused to divulge what led to its action.
“The party continues to state that it is an internal matter and will be adjudicated as per our Constitution,” UPP Public Relations Officer Senator Damani Tabor told Observer media.
Relations between Massiah and her party reportedly turned sour after she pulled out of the UPP’s leadership race in 2015.
She allegedly charged then that the election process was unfair and geared towards ensuring current party leader Harold Lovell won the post.
In a letter dated October 25, the UPP confirmed that Massiah faced a disciplinary committee and was suspended pending investigations.
“At a meeting of the General Council held on Sunday, October 23, 2016, the members voted by way of motion that you be suspended from all party activities until the investigation has been completed,” the letter to Massiah stated.
The letter also said “investigation” refers to the activities of the “investigative committee” that had been probing “a complaint brought against [Massiah] regarding her conduct in the party over the last year.”
Massiah, an attorney-at-law, has served as Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Marine Resources and Food Production and as a Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal Affairs.