With speculations rife that Prime Minister Gaston Browne may influence the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) race to select a candidate to run in the St John’s Rural East constituency, General Secretary of the party Mary-Claire Hurst is refuting the suggestion.
Hurst said the prime minister is staying clear of the situation and has not made inquiries about his wife’s candidacy.
Maria Bird Browne, Browne’s wife and niece of former prime minister and the incumbent in Rural East Sir Lester Bird, has thrown her hat into the political arena, and will come up against two other hopefuls.
Senate President Alincia Williams- Grant and Neil Williams, site and project supervisor for the National Housing Development and Urban Renewal Company Ltd (the government housing project) are also vying to become the ABLP’s candidate in Rural East.
“And I know one of the biggest conversations right now is the prime minister’s wife who is tipped to be the candidate in Rural East, and that will be a next conversation. I mean just thinking about Lady Browne being on the ticket (she is) very intelligent, young, pretty, you name it and it’s all in one package. And I mean I have not heard the prime minister say much about his wife wanting to be involved in politics.
“He is staying clear, and as general secretary I can say it without fear. As a matter of fact when her letter got to the executive and when I read it he looked across like, he was shocked because he said they have kept him out, and he said I have removed myself because I do not want it to be a situation where they say it’s a dynasty,” Hurst said.
Prime Minister Browne has said in the past that his wife is capable and intelligent to get involved in politics. According to him, if he felt she did not have what it takes he would ask her to leave politics alone.
Hurst said there are instances where the prime minister, as head of the party, can assist in selecting a candidate to run on the party’s ticket, having reviewed their bio and concluding who would be a better fit to serve in the Cabinet.