COMMENTARY: If Simon wins, an UPP star is born. If George gets in, ALP’s 2028 chances are strong


Bi-elections,  St. Mary’s South, Antigua-Barbuda, October 24th 2023 If Simon Wins, An UPP Star is Born –  If George Gets in, ALP’s 2028 Chances Are Strong.

A version of  this piece was first published on July 30th 2023 Not authorized for publication in Antigua-Barbuda before close of polls So, Antigua-Barbuda missed an election catastrophe, by a close call with the latest hurricane in the 2023 season. A word to the wise is sufficient.

This bi-election is being held because, on January 18th 2023, Kelvin Simon (UPP) defeated Samantha Marshall (ABLP) by 199 votes (862 VS1,061).

Ms. Marshall shocked the UPP by  capturing the constituency for the Labour Party, in the 2 previous general elections,  by closer to  30 votes.

It is safe to count this constituency as leaning more UPP than Labor…

During the 2023  campaign, Labor vowed to challenge a Simon-victory, on the
basis that his nomination might not be legal.

However, Mr.  Simon rode a massive swing away from Labor, to defeat Ms.
Marshall, by a convincing 199 margin. Almost 10% of votes…

As Labour  pressed  its challenge, Mr. Simon  exhibited a  unique brand of shrewd political instinct. The UPP candidate  determined,  that he would rather his fate decided  by the voters and not by a judge in the High court.

So he  resigned his seat (apparently)  to  trigger  a bi-election in the
midst of the annual economic low-tide, which occurs outside the tourism

The sustained and  public confusion,  which Simon’s action had on Speaker
and government, suggested that the young politician, may have   left the
“gates” with a stunning advantage.

An obvious stroke of political genius (if he goes on to win) or a gambler’s
nightmare, if he looses…

Interestingly, Ms. Marshall started a  high-profiled campaign to take back
the seat, then resigned rather suddenly.

So, Mr George (a body-builder and Economist) is the new Labor candidate for
St. Marys South.

On the face of it, the UPP can be excused for thinking that Mr. Simon holds
an unbeatable hand, given his 199 vote margin in defeating Ms.  Marshall.
But labourites eyeing a victory for Mr George,  will be mindful  that “the
“power of incumbency” can make the difference in bi-elections.

In such contests, political parties are focused on  single constituencies.
Giving the incumbent unprecedented advantages, because of the governing
party’s access to logistics, services,  material and money…

Of course, the unbridled  concentration of state resources, on single
constituencies, operating under bi-election conditions, could galvanize
voter back-lash from opposition and independent electors.

So prudent incumbents are   cautious in the  exercise  of such options…
A win for Simon, gives the UPP  the luxury  of keeping 6 while  focusing on
winning a mere  2 seats (perhaps City East and St Mary’s North) to form the
government with Barbuda’s BPM, at the next general elections…

A win for George,   gives Labor a chance to step-back from the political
abyss, framed by its (current)  9 to 8 majority in the house.
Armed with 10 seats, Labor could then  up the tempo on retaking St. Georges,
which the UPP won with a relatively  thin majority.

As things stands, the other  UPP seats have been won for at least 2 general
elections – Not likely to be in contention until 2033…

Going into the bi-election, the more than  600  electors who did not vote in
the general elections, should be of interest to both parties.
In Antigua-Barbuda, The Representation of the People Act,  allows the ABEC
to remove names of  dead electors from the registers. Indications are that
this is  done at 3-months intervals.
Great campaigns  give   electoral  no-shows  a lot of attention in
Since there are enough no-show votes, to help win  or  loose the
bi-election, The side that wins will have done best in keeping votes while
taking a convincing chunk of the no-shows of January 18th…
Regardless of who wins, The results will determine design   of  2028
elections campaign…

Walk good…Remember!  If Simon wins, an  UPP star  is born. If George gets
in, ALP’s 2028 chances are strong.

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  1. Who wrote this, I love it. I must stick to my prediction based on the data I have.

    I genuinely enjoyed reading this intensely intellectual article. I literally could not put my phone down until I completely finish reading it.

  2. “If Simon Wins, An UPP Star is Born – If George Gets in, ALP’s 2028 Chances Are Strong.”

    Such words of brilliance, Arvel (sarcasm)!

    Are you just trying to be relevant?

    Simon is already a star and George will not be around for 2028 elections. Nor Gaston Browne, if you ask me.

    Just come into the blog and say howdy if you have nothing useful to say.

  3. The star was born over a year ago. Maybe Arvel means he’ll get his star on the Walk of Fame? But Shugy has taken this country by storm and will continue to sear his legacy. Everyone red or blue can feel the Shugy effect.

  4. Indeed a good read. Here’s hoping that SMS sends a resounding message to ALP that they cannot be bought. Gaston Browne has done absolutely nothing for this country except plunge us deeper and deeper into scandals, debts and poverty. A victory in SMS will declare to the country’s scourge that we have had enough of his incompetence, narcissism and thinking that all Antiguans and Barbudans are bribable.

    • @Watching….So if George wins will that be sending a message to the UPP that they are no less Niger viable?

  5. St Mary’s South is also a great time for a PROTEST vote, where the constituents can send an overwhelming message to Gaston Browne and the ALP government, to let them know that the country isn’t happy at all with having a sometimeish and self-enriched party that doesn’t give two hoots about us.


  6. Not impressed at all!

    Unlike Shuggy, Dwayne George has already become a star. Since he has switched allegiance because he was like a stone that a builder refuse, he has decided to combat his former alli head on and is now becoming the head corner stone in this political battle. His presence has created such an impact that he has taken away quite a bit of attention from Shuggy within such short time and so, Dwayne must be commended highly.

    • @Bludy Bloke
      You are delusional.
      George will lose and Gaston Browne will toss him back in the sea like bait fish. By next week, they will have to check up on him to see if he is having mental health issues.

    • The people of St Mary’s South were the ones who chose Shuggy over Dwayne. From what I remember, several people went up for the candidacy and Shuggy was chosen. UPP party did not refuse Dwayne George to run on their ticket as a candidate, the people in St Mary’s South did.
      Dwayne George did not campaign, Gaston Browne was the one who did the groundwork for him.

  7. @Bluddy Bloke… the word is “ally” not “alli”. Learn to read, comprehend, and spell.

  8. I wish the writer would use his column to address issues of substance.
    What policies has the candidates put forward. What are the challenges the community faces and how is he proposing to address those changes if elected.
    It’s time for a transformer to bring about a better the future with the temerity to bring force changes in the way the government delivers services.
    Until these policy changes come about political life with be all about who has the resources for handouts.

  9. @bertaboi,”a message to the UPP that they are no less Niger viable?” Is this a typo? What the hell does this mean? Should Judas win(and I doubt he will) it would simply mean that Antiguans are for sale. Simple deduction really,even for the simplest of minds. It would have absolutely nothing to do with UPP.
    Think again. The numbers are in. The traitor and his boss, Judas and Barnabas, were rejected. Again. Does this mean ALP are no less Niger viable? Whatever that means.

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