LETTER: Lovell’s Refusal To Debate Browne & Massiah Is Shameful And Cowardly

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Dear Editor,

Lovell’s Refusal To Debate Browne & Massiah Is Shameful And Cowardly

I have been away so this will be NOMAD’s last letter before the Elections. In fact, I had intended to address the question of which Party is likely to succeed at the polls, and to comment on campaign strategies, the likelihood of the ABLP retaining government or being replaced and how many seats etc.

However, the recent refusal of Harold Lovell to face and debate Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Leader of the Democratic National Alliance Joanne Massiah, has pushed me in a different direction.

Bear in mind that this invitation to debate came from an independent Media House – Twin Island Media of highly respected Julian Rogers and two also well-respected locals, Kieron Murdoch and Darren Matthew Ward.

Let me say at the outset that Harold Lovell’s refusal to debate after loudly proclaiming that he would, providing certain things were put in place, is a shameful act of political cowardice. NEITHER PM BROWNE NOR DNA LEADER MASSIAH set any pre-conditions. Lovell needs to explain to all Antiguans and Barbudans why he has flip-flopped.

In the absence of an official media statement from Lovell. I took to browsing Facebook and the MY UPP FB page to see if there was any statement or to see what the usual UPP apologists had to say. One comment caught my eye. It was a post from Lionel Michael, former Chief Health Inspector, now resident in the BVI. He is a serial poster, usually with anti-government comments, and in support of Lovell and the UPP.  Truth be told, his comments are for the most part incoherent and puerile.

In his comment, he supported Lovell’s refusal to debate and I quote, “He right, just so you know Lovell is exceptional at debating.” Michael gives no evidence to support this claim, but taking him at his word, plus the fact that Lovell is an Attorney and former member of Parliament, WHY THEN is he afraid to face Gaston and Joanne in a debate? WHY?

The reasons stare us in the face. Readers will recall that in a previous letter, NOMAD had enumerated a series of giveaways including to pay all debts due to the private sector, to pay one hundred million dollars in severance to LIAT workers even though government has no legal liability, to reduce the price of gas by $3, reduce ABST and a host of other giveaways, amounting to almost ONE BILLION DOLLARS when the annual salaries of government workers were added in. He also promises to reduce customs duties on a number of items.

All of this without stating how these giveaways were going to be financed. WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM? During the debate, Mr. Lovell will be asked to explain these reckless promises when elected. For sure, he will bankrupt WIOC and all the hundreds of Antiguans who bought shares in WIOC will be out of money. Plus, with no WIOC, who will supply fuel to APUA to run electricity and water, not to mention the 55,000 vehicles.

Then there is the question of whether the UPP will re-introduce Personal Income Tax, to fund these giveaways, or, seek financial assistance from the IMF (International Monetary Fund), as has been suggested on several occasions, by UPP Candidate Pearl Quinn Williams, who is touted to become Finance Minister in a UPP administration. These are some of the hard questions that are sure to be posed by Julian Rogers and Kieron Murdoch.

Last but not least, Mr. Lovell has made a number of statements on various friendly media, which are totally false. In his regular interviews with friendly Dave Lester Payne, he is allowed to soliloquize with helpful prompting from Payne and be assured that he will never be asked to answer how he will pay for all the giveaways. Then there is the Captain’s Corner hosted by Shaun Nicholas, the Party’s General Secretary, who also lobs soft ball questions and he is freely allowed to expound at length on these fantasies, while Ms. Nicholas nods her head in apparent approval.

Recently, Sean Bird, had to rush from his office, to take control of Lovell’s interview on ZDK and had to intervene many times to protect him.

Harold Lovell, appearing in a debate with PM Browne and DNA Party Leader Massiah would be a disaster for Lovell, as both will expose him and his lies, with dire effects. Of course, it would also show the UPP that they made a grave error in getting rid of Massiah for Lovell. Lovell would be fact checked by the moderators on his insane giveaways, ill thought-out policies and his persistent lies over the past several years.

Consequently, his only choice was to cut and run. He prefers to take the political blows for not debating rather than be humiliated in the debate. There can be no other explanation.

Remember neither Gaston nor Joanne placed any pre-conditions on the debate format. They simply agreed and said “Bring it on.”

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43 COMMENTS

    • You’re all stupid the author has some very valid points and for me as undecided voter I want to know the answers… but some of us are over educated that we deliberately forget about common sense

      • @ ”Bite me”

        YOU ARE A CONFOUNDED LIAR TALKING ABOUT YOU UNDECIDED….I HAVE READ YOUR POST OVER THE PERIOD AND NO ONE IS REDDER THAN YOU, NOT EVEN TENMAN NOR JUST SAYING, SO STOP BEING ECONOMICAL WITH THE TRUTH

      • @ “bite me” you are even more stupid and arrogant as they come more than the author and not worthy of a response. However, I will leave this with u, EVERYONE is entitled to their opinions and no one cares if u are “undecided voter” we all know deep down u r a laborite. So crawl back in ya hole and stay there!

      • Amen to that. I too would like to know the answers. I also want to know how are the going to eliminate the water WOOS in Antigua.

      • very good decision Lovell.Who would want to be on any stage with those two.That Joanne Massiah is an operative of the Labor Party under the guise of DNA/Do Nothing Always.

    • @BRIXTONIAN

      BRIXTONIAN and His STUPID UTTERANCES. That is the reason for the following.

      Election 2023 results in Antigua / Barbuda 🇦🇬

      ABLP. WIN ALL. 17 SEATS

      UPP. . 00 SEAT ( 12 CANDIDATES LOSE DEPOSITS)

      DNA. 00 SEAT ( ALL THE LOSE DEPOSITS )

      BPM. ….. 00 SEAT

      ASOT MICHAEL. ……. 00 SEAT

      BRIXTONIAN and CHARLES TABOR will run around Antigua as NAKED as They were born. Harold Lovell will be on Blood Pressure medication. All other UPP CANDIDATES will run away from UPP. UPP DONE / FINISHED.

      • @ Eric (the red) u need to be careful u might get egg in your face… don’t worry we shall all be there to laugh at you when it happens. The people are not stupid. We can all see Alp is scrambling to do everything now and the people, NOT “Eric” (The Dead Red) will decide on election day.

    • Gaston “Nomad” Browne I beg to differ with everything you had said in your article and particularly your nonsensical point that Lovell’s refusal to engage you and Joanne Massiah in a national debate is shameful and cowardly. Lovell has made the point over and over that any such debate should be structured in a particular manner which the organizers refused to do. Finally, of the three of you Lovell with his background and education is intellectually light years ahead, so there is no way he would be afraid to engage either of you in a debate.

      • Tabor… Lovell has all these so called background and educational accolades, yet at a time when so much people would love and appreciate a constructive debate and dialouge amongst the party leaders, he is the only one who refuses ? A non-partisan media group was the one planning the debate, so all of Lovell’s demands about the format to ensure that it would be fair are simply a cop out and excuse. It’s clear that lovell and the upp know that he is the intellectual lightweight and this act of cowardice will cost him even more votes.

      • @Charles Tabor
        Last election it was the same Lovell that was calling for a debate with Browne on Observer Radio.
        Lovell debated Hurst on Observer radio and had no concerns.
        I find some of us have a selective memory.
        I am disappointed that the party refuse to debate Browne.
        Tabor you know what the truth is, and you know the reason why Lovell cannot debate FLOW JO it’s not about Gaston is it Tabor? It is about Joan, Lovell CANNOT debate Joan…..

  1. @ Mr Shameful

    Lovell is absolutely right NOT TO BE PART OF ANY DEBATE IN WHICH GASTON AND JOANNE ARRANGED……I heard a set up conversation played on Mr Knight’s programme last night, where it was obvious that Collin O’neal and Joanne and Gaston orchestrated this whole thing hoping that it would make Lovell look bad.
    WELL E NAR GO WORK. The candidates who are losing usually ask for a debate- this SAYS A LOT about desperation.
    Mr Lovell your UPP supporters agree with you not to be a part of any debate with the DNA nor the ABLP……..they are seeking relevance.
    Will arrange for Mr Knight to debate GASTON on the Article IV IMF report any day.
    GASTON U HAVE MY NUMBER SO JUST CALL AND ARRANGE.

      • @ ”Bite me”

        you mean its about you, A BIG ALP supporter…..you and gaston wasting ur time , u tink people fooley laka ar u

      • @Bite me, if you’re undecided after all the corruption and everything else going on with Gaston Browne, well, something wrong with you. It’s too late, we already know what we need to know. Fortunately, we are not on the fence with you. Our minds are made up. Gaston is out!

    • Bunch of sh….t.
      The people has been calling for this debate for ages now.
      UPP slate is the worst ever put together. It is quite clear that no citizen of substance has any interesting to be on the UPP TEAM. If it wasn’t for the movement radio hosts who said they have no political aspiration…they would be hustling to find 17 candidates.
      Antiguans need to let go of the old hatred of Bird and Walter and now Gaston Browne..and vote for Antigua and Barbuda future.
      It would be nice to see a see a shadow cabinet of the UPP.

      • Mr Lowell’s time at this moment should be spent in solidifying his party imminent victory in the General Elections and close off some of his planing works towards putting the right people in positions to govern this Nation all to the optimal benefit of its people.
        Certainly he does not have time to playing around with debates suggested at the eleventh hour.
        Especially with people who they have failed the Nation big time and those who are seeking for relevance.
        Government is serious business, given the livelihood of our people and sustenance of businesses.
        Let those who want to continue fooling themselves push on until they are pulled in.
        They are a failed experience and must stay out and lean.

  2. Lovell you right. Don’t contaminate yourself with them.

    Let Gaston debate Joanne and they can live happily after.

  3. That’s exactly the message being sent to the electorate by MR. IMF ROMANTIC RHYTHMS WADADLI POWER CAN’T ABST HOTEL RIPOFF ABIB COLLAPSER BANKING-SECTOR COLLAPSER ANTI-UWI FIVE ISLANDS CAMPUS BAICO COLLAPSER AZURE BAY

  4. Lovell is soaring in the polls. Lovell don’t need TMI to validate him. They are “Johnny came yesterday” sour grape station and just trying to build their repertoire. That station will disappear after the elections.
    Lovell can call a public meeting and get more people than they get on radio.

  5. It’s not cowardly, far from it. The Honourable Harold Lovell is a very smart cookie.

    I don’t doubt that earlier in 2022, it would have been a lot wiser to debate with the Prime Minister; but, with Gaston Browne’s current struggles with the electorate and his many broken promises; I admire Mr Lovell’s current tactics to keep well clear of this disaster of a politician – and I use that term very loosely!

    However, there is a silver lining if the opposition UPP does have to take part eventually.

    All Mr Lovell has to do is trigger Gaston Browne’s very very short fuse by asking him questions on self-enrichments; family land grabs; how the PM accumulated such a vast sum of money during during his tenure; the Nigerian airline fiasco; accountability for CIP and also NAMCO … I could go on, but you get Brixtonian’s drift.

    My choice would be for the former, and stay away, keep SCHTUM and stay quiet.

    So, any which way you look at it, the Honourable Harold Lovell is in a win win situation. Simple really!

    ALL THE BEST, WITH ANY DECISION YOU MAKE.

    REMEMBER, STAND FIRM AND HOLD THE LINE … WE COUNTING ON YOU SIR!

    • @BRIXTONIAN

      BRIXTONIAN and His STUPID UTTERANCES. That is the reason for the following.

      Election 2023 results in Antigua / Barbuda 🇦🇬

      ABLP. WIN ALL. 17 SEATS

      UPP. . 00 SEAT ( 12 CANDIDATES LOSE DEPOSITS)

      DNA. 00 SEAT ( ALL THE LOSE DEPOSITS )

      BPM. ….. 00 SEAT

      ASOT MICHAEL. ……. 00 SEAT

      BRIXTONIAN and CHARLES TABOR will run around Antigua as NAKED as They were born. Harold Lovell will be on Blood Pressure medication. All other UPP CANDIDATES will run away from UPP. UPP DONE / FINISHED.

  6. THERE IS NO DEBATE…

    RED DEAD

    NO WATER

    NO RELIEF

    UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS

    COST OF LIVING CRISIS

    TUMP YOU IN YOUR FACE LEADERSHIP

    TIME TO GO

    VOTE DEM ALL OUT!

  7. I heard Mr lovell explain the Sandals tax situation on ZDK ,abetter he did not explain they still running with the same old lie no ,no debate

  8. Whom ever you are that wrote this article, I will tell you Lovell did the right thing by not going on any debate.
    How do you know the questions being asked? You were privy to them? You see this debate was a set up. It would appear that the other two were given the questions in advance to prepare themselves. Why would Lovell be fact checked on his proposed giveaways when the questions are supposed to be secret. We know whose side Murdoch and Ward are on and why they left Observer.
    Everybody knows that Antigua is a little corrupt place and those two other party leaders must have had the questions in advance. As a matter of fact I wouldn’t be surprised that they wrote them.
    Was Gaston going to be questioned on his many lies and how he bankrupt this country?

  9. King Lyadd Lovell Limpy Joe IMF Pimp is the same COWARD that allowed Butch to hold on to our ABST monies.

    The same COWARD that wanted Scotiabank to be sold to Reoublic Bank in wicked, murderous, crime-rudden TnT.

    Thank God that the Hon. Gaston Browne is FEARLESS for the people of Antigua and Barbuda

    • @ TESSA

      He is soooo fearless and corrupt that everything his put his hand too end’s up in some corrupt plot: LATEST GLOBAL BANK OF COMMERCE WHO WAS PUT INTO RECEIVERSHIP. Shows how incompetent he is…he now has the record for the most bank closures in the Eastern Caribbean.
      They cannot even pay the depositor his US$10,000,000 BACK-they are so broke and you want them to run this country again?
      Like all the red ants finally have something to chat about as they have been hiding since the massive motorcade and could not surface from the ‘destruction’ 🤣🤣

  10. Unless there is going to be fact checks to fact check king liad Gaston in real time, I will not have any debate with him.
    As for the other person, she is looking relevancy as neither she or any member of her party will be getting back their deposit.

  11. It does not take a debate to know that Joanne, GASTON U ARE A CLOWN, is power hungry and Gaston BROWNE is selfish, badminded and thief.
    They cannot walk in Harold shoes.

  12. I am certainly not surprised. Lovell would never expose himself to such humiliation days before the election. Lovell will only do interviews with friendly reporters. And if you have an open line where people can call him, they will scrutinize the calls. Unlike our PM taking questions from anyone every Saturday on his radio program. And when he was interviewed on ABS TV, he also allowed people to call in on restricted.

    • @FTS
      You are a joker, you are a clown, your ABLP is a circus, you are a pappy show, you are a cult.
      Lovell is class, move ahyu rass tafari.
      RED DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD…….

  13. UPP is picking up grounds like steam. I mentioned once that GOD put up and GOD take down, blessed be the name of the Lord. That when it is take down time every thing that can go wrong will go wrong will go wrong. The person will find themself making bad decisions over and over. The Antigua Airways, the Bank , the tump in the mouth, the pulling down of serpent bill board, the taking away of the farmer land by Dean Jonás . Following fashion of UPP announcement of none work permits for CARICUM brothers and sisters. One week is a very long time and with the heat on an uncontrollable Gaston can cause his party to loose all 17 seats.
    By the way no one should debate with Joan Massiah . She and every single member of DNA are going to loose their deposits. Can you imagine DNA candidates begging people to nominate them . They are now doing the same to find scrutineers . Asking people they don’t know . Not one of her candidates will get back their deposit. Another reason why DNA is doing so poorly that they continue to try to pull the UPP. UPP is not the party in power yet instead of going after the government you want to replace, you continually go after the opposition. If they had that debate she would be going after Harold and not Gaston. I do believe that we are going to have a good balance in parliament this time. Which ever party win we are doing to have a strong opposition. Once more I say Harold win and game changer. MelFord win and a new UPP.

  14. Has Mr Lovell explained where the money will come from to do all that he has promised? It is simple math. It is a fact,that even though the UPP collected Income Tax, we still ended up going to the IMF…in better times than this.👀

    It is an important question.Maybe the most important question.

    • The same place where your cult is wasting the people money. Some of those getting 3 & 5 paycheck are hoping that the status quo remain.

    • To The facts are needed, the fact is that you should learn to read and comprehend.
      Spend the money wisely, stop thief.
      What is wrong with IMF?

    • @ The Facts
      The money will come from the Treasury. How come?

      Because all the money collected to run the country will go in the Treasury and not in politicians pockets, nor their massive accounts overseas, nor their big time local projects.
      Nobody will be telling investors my wife has a charity so please help her out. Nobody will be taking money to buy electronics for schoolchildren and build a massive house on a hill so they could see ships arriving in the harbor from their bed.

      In short, the country will have a leader who will direct the nation’s money to the development of the citizens.

  15. A debate at this eleventh hour is just an act of desperation on the Dawg’s part. As for Messiah, she is irrelevant. We have seen these staged setups before. Folks have made up their minds long ago and no amount of lies and pretending will affect anything now.

  16. Well, the United Progressive Party (UPP) makes the following promises:

    1. More jobs.
    2. Higher wages.
    3. Lower cost of living.
    4. Water.
    5. Respect.

    At the same time, the UPP is promising to reduce the following taxes:

    1. Abolition of Unincorporated Business Tax.
    2. Reduction of consumption taxes on certain food items.
    3. Most likely they will also reduce the prices of fuels, including the prices of gasoline, diesel and cooking gas.

    As an International Economist, I make the following observations:

    1. First of all, for the Government to create new jobs and pay higher wages the Government will have to collect more taxes unless they are going to borrow alot, which in itself could put the nation in trouble.

    Well, maybe more jobs can be created by bringing in more foreign investors, but do you want to giveaway the whole country to foreign investors and nothing for locals?

    2. Another point of significance is that if more people are working, assuming that you are bringing in more immigrants that you have to provide jobs for, and you are also paying higher wages, the conclusion has to be that the country will have a significantly higher import bill.

    3. Now, it’s important for you to know, from an economics standpoint that no country can import more goods than it has the aggregate amount of foreign exchange earnings to pay for.

    4. It is important to know that the COVID19 Pandemic is not yet over, and we don’t yet know how well our foreign exchange earners, meaning our hotels, are going to do in the foreseeable future. So, it maybe premature to plan big for our immediate future.

    5. So, it’s very important to bear in mind that if a country import more than it has the Foreign Exchange Reserves to pay for, it will be forced to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial package (loan) and oversight.

    This point is very important, because even if the country’s Trade Unions and Government would wish to pay higher wages, under international laws, they can’t do it unless the country has positive Balance of Payments (Foreign Exchange Reserves) to accommodate it.

    Ofcourse, politicians always have the right to make promises to the electorate, but responsible politicians don’t do this knowing that they have far less than a 50% chance of fulfilling their promises.

    Right now, although our nation is facing a high level of inflation, reflected in high fuel and other prices, it’s not that any politician can just wave a magic wand and make everybody well-off or rich. It’s not going to happen.

    Mr. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister, so far has been able to pay Public Servants their salaries on time.and pensioners, as well, are receiving their regular payments. Also, our country’s economy is picking up after our experiences with COVID-19. So, let’s be a grateful nation, and be very careful what we wish for and end up getting the opposite. The last thing I want to see now is that this nation and country be setback for another five (5) years.

    I first voted in 1971 when I were 25 years old and voted to sweep out Bird, but the succeeding Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) Government did such a poor job in office that V. C. Bird was back in power by 1976. Don’t misunderstand me, the PLM did alot of good things, for example, introducing the Social Security Scheme. But, as history as shown, it’s not easy to run a Government and country. The Antigua Labour Party was not removed again for 28 years.

    The United Progressive Party (UPP) inherited the Government in 2004, and did a fairly good job during their two (2) term. But, they did receive the boot in 2014. Given that we had the pandemic, I don’t think that the Antigua And Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) has been given a fair chance to do as well as they possibly could. I think that changing the Government now would be a huge mistake that you will regret. I would give the UPP no more than six months to a year before they create a big financial crisis in our country. I am saying to you: beware of wild promises from politicians who have already proven their incompetence. I voted UPP last time, but I believe that common sense dictates that it’s best to give the ABLP another term. I know Gaston is a bad man, but Lovel can’t run any successful Government. You want to see chaos, you put the UPP in: I am not impressed with UPP promises, they are fake. They don’t have a qualified team to manage our country’s economy. That’s my main concern. Otherwise, the UPP are all good people.

  17. We are still waiting on the UPP candidates to come on ABSTV. They always used to complain how ABLP is misusing State Media. Now that they are invited to appear on State TV to present themselves to the nation they refuse to come. What a set of cowards.

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