St. Johns, Antigua, February1st, 2019 – Antigua and Barbuda Parliamentarian Hon. Asot Michael says he will bow out of politics if the constituency he represents continues to be a target of ruling party victimization and discrimination.
According to the St. Peter’s MP, the people of his constituency are not getting their fair share of the state’s community development resources, regardless of which of the two main political parties sits in Government.
Asot Michael said from 2004 to 2014, he watched the constituency of St Peters punished for its voting preference by the UPP to become “the most run down, ramshackle and decrepit constituency” in Antigua and Barbuda.
“Before the election of 2018, as a broken-hearted parliamentarian, I reflected with great sadness on the appalling treatment of my constituents by my sitting ABLP government that I worked tirelessly day and night for ten years in opposition and for which I utilized millions from my family financial resources to win the election and regain the government”.
The veteran MP then decided that something needed to be done.
“I engaged every single heavy duty equipment operator in Antigua and Barbuda at the cost of well over one and a half million dollars to my family to clear cassie bush and hundreds of acres of land; clean out and excavate public ponds; grade dilapidated roads; purchase stone and other materials for the roads; purchase street lights to put on state-owned lamp posts; repair and fix the Sugar Factory Cricket ground and the fence around the Parham football field, that the contractor has left unfinished to this day”.
Hon Asot Michael made the painful admission that “the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party of which I am a proud member became the government again in 2018 and the UPP pattern of neglect and abandonment of St Peters, the largest constituency by land mass, continued”.
“Right before the eyes of our party history is repeating itself”, he said. “The same neglect and abandonment of the constituency that Joseph (Uncle Joe) Myers endured under VC Bird 40 years ago is exactly what I am experiencing today”.
And an Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party MP, Asot Michael finds this particularly difficult to digest:
“The people of St Peter gave their Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party candidate a commanding, unprecedented 81% of the popular vote in the 2018 election. The St Peter delegates of the ABLP voted unanimously for Hon Gaston Browne at the two conventions in which he contested the leadership of party”.
MP Michael has questions for which only the sound of silence responds:
“What makes the constituents of St Peter so different from all the other citizens of Antigua and Barbuda? What justifies the discrimination against them? When will they receive their just desserts from the public resources in this parliamentary democracy?”
The veteran politician said the situation is untenable and cannot continue
“And come the next election, if the people of the St Peters constituency are not on the same playing field of government’s community development assistance with other constituencies, it will be unconscionable of me to seek their votes.
“I will not do it. Not as a representative of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party or any other political party. Not as an independent”.
“I will rest”, Hon Asot Michael said, “And ride off into the sunset”.