Political Debates Should Be Included In Antigua And Barbuda Election Campaigns, says Wickham

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POINTE XPRESS: In the United States and other nations around the world, political debates are a popular and normal feature of election campaigns, particularly among high profile candidates.

The opportunity gives candidates the opportunity to go head to head on the pressing issues of their campaign.

They have the power to make or break political contenders and have been proven to be valuable in helping to convince on-the-fence voters where they should place their support.

Despite their value, political debates have not caught on in the Caribbean.

Barbadian political scientist, Peter Wickham, says this is “quite unfortunate”.

“There’s a sad reality that across the region political debates are few and far between.

“Most leaders take the position that to give the opponent a debate is to allow them a dignity that they should not afford them. That has been the case across the Eastern Caribbean.

“We have debates in Jamaica. In Trinidad and Tobago, from time to time they have had them, but it has not been part of the institution, Barbados, we had debate once or twice and then, you know, invariably someone else finds a reason not to do it,” Wickham said.

Wickham’s comments stem from comments made this week by Prime Minister Gaston Browne in which he indicated his willingness and confidence in participating in a debate with the leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell or Opposition Leader, Jamale Pringle, and the Democratic National Alliance’s (DNA) head, Joanne Massiah.

Wickham is of the opinion that a series of debates during the election campaign could benefit the country and the leaders of the three main political parties.

“I think it would be great to have a debate, especially as Mr. Lovell is not a member of Parliament. It would be good to hear him face off against Prime Minister Browne, and even Joanne Massiah, quite frankly, to have the three face off in a debate on various issues.

“Debating is part of the political landscape that is sadly absent in most Caribbean countries and I think it’s unfortunate that we could not have had a debate, especially as the leader of the UPP is not a member of parliament, and neither is the DNA,” Wickham said.

There have been a handful of debates in the twin-island nation.

The most recent took place a few months ago in the St. George’s constituency between the incumbent Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) Representative Dean Jonas, the UPP’s Algernon “Serpent” Watts and the DNA’s Kelton Dalso.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. A debate would be nice. I hope Peter can convince the pm. Fact checkers would be nice too cause these politicians are fabricators

    • You think Debating could make me change my mind after all what I know is Going on in this corrupt Government. Debating audience should be for the people who are being Bribed and don’t have the slightest idea as what is going on in this country.They are walking with their eyes and ears Close while stretching their hand for those Bribry Gifts..No politician going to blow up their liad mouth, as though is a competition on stage, in a talking contest so to convince me to vote for them.I already know the Facts..Mr.Lovell please Debate that clown in other to clear your name with those lies and propaganda perpetrated against you.

  2. First time this man talking sense. Debate is needed! If Gaston browne has the balls he should arrange the debate with an independent audience. My unbiased view is that Harold lovell will win the debate.

  3. Every day we seeing this fraud miss Wickham,running his mouth in antigua politics with his sidekick Arvryl Grant.

    Nobody should have a debate with baby Hitler, unless there would be independent fact checkers, to check his lies in real-time.

    The leader of the ALP Antigua lieing party and the truth are not friends

  4. I was thinking about the same thing.

    That is needed here in Antigua.

    20 questions or more and about 5 questions from the public or audience.

    About the economic, education, roads infrastructure, etc

  5. “The most recent took place a few months ago in the St. George’s constituency between the incumbent Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) Representative Dean Jonas, the UPP’s Algernon “Serpent” Watts and the DNA’s Kelton Dalso.”
    And we know the outcome of that debate. They both got a whipping from Dean. These guys are not up to the level of any of their counterparts of the ABLP. Much less their leader who cannot count and doesn’t understand simple economic principles. If the PM gives duty free on the importation of vehicles, they do not see that as a stimulus. If he sells homes below the market price, they don’t see that as empowerment. They call it cost overrun. Or selling at a loss. How do you explain to these people these simple concepts. That an uncollectable debt might as well be written off. Which allows the very same debtor release and start to contribute once again. In the private sector you do write of every year. It’s called provision for doubtful debt. The banks may not tell you but the Central Bank demands that they write off uncollectable loans. They will of course not give up the right to try and collect it and harass you for many years to come. The government doesn’t need that. Government doesn’t do that. There is a big market in debt collection and sale of debt. That is why it is unconscionable for the PARIS Club to still demand full payment from us on the debt from even before we became independent. The British should have taken care of that debt.

  6. Yes, after years of failed projects and broken promises, put these smooth mouthed politicians in a place where they can sweet talk us and their media mouthpieces can spin it to their advantage. Enough talk, time for action!

  7. @Cool Ruler, I am with you one hundred percent. Why are these people, not native Antiguans and Barbudans interfering with our politics. Can we go to their country and do that? Wickham has no credibility, nor does Grant, yet they continue to talk as if sensible people are going to take them seriously. The Top Dog cannot risk looking stupid in an open forum with object journalists asking the questions. Probably won’t happen.

  8. Gaston lies everyday. Why give him a platform to come back and say the deal fell through. Waste of time. We need a fact checker for a debate to work. A lie-o-meter!!

  9. If there’s to be a debate, Antigua needs a strong adjudicator from another country who would take no nonsense from any of them.

    My choice, even though it would never ever happen here, would be the UK’S James O’Brien. He has his own radio program (LBC) and knows how to disect the truth and falsehood from politics and politicians.

    Simply the best for interrogating lying Members of the UK Parliament – he’d tie Gaston Browne up in knots. Easily!

  10. Jumbee_Picknee have being advocating for debates for some time now.
    These debates should be held in all constituencies and include #ALL CANDIDATES.
    Groups such as the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce should all sponsor these debates with varying formats, such as Townhalls with a moderator and questions coming from the audience. Besides Townhall Style debates, you have one which is moderated with questions coming from reporters, college students, High School too.
    Then you have the Parliamentary style debating, Candidates asking Candidates questions with time limits and penalties.

    Penalties, time limits, Mike muting etc must be incorporated into all of the debates.

    Don’t speak about it, be about it.

    Jumbee_Picknee

  11. I love the idea but I also want to know their finances.. because I want to know where they getting money from before during and after they in power

    • @Sample…information about their finances are an easy fix, once the PEOPLE demands it. #ALL Candidates MUST submit their financial statements, these are then audited, forensically, similar to what is required of perspective CIP applicants.

      There is no doubt, that the issues of malfeasance, nefarious activities etc are deep rooted in our culture and are protected, by such things as the degree of separation, friends and family. However, if the Nation keeps operating without these checks and balances, especially in the public sector, we could end up in a #Free_Fall and #Free_for_All.

      Jumbee_Picknee

  12. Sample – well said. Hard working people not getting paid while those politicians are raking and ripping off our country. A complete forensic audit is needed in all government ministers, especially Housing, PWD and finance and their subsidiaries/ statutory bodies.
    National Housing and those in charge getting rich overnight.
    PWD – the Director and PS ambassadors, the minister, Baba contracts , k and smooth contracts , Louis contracts – suppliers and equipment to PWD.
    Finance and the treasury and those responsible for paying , Customs and the officers.
    Solid waste and the management. This country need a real clean up. The level of corruption is taking over every Ministry, every department , every statutory body. The salaries needs to be looked at also . You have a regular worker at social security working for three times a teacher with a master in IT or accounting. Those at finance workers for 3 times those at Education.
    Our economy needs an overhaul.

    • I appreciate and applaud your candour @ Frankly Speaking, and telling it like it is to the citizens of Antigua & Barbuda … 👏

      Sincere thanks for your post!

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