Veteran politician Trevor Walker said he was not approached for the position of Opposition Leader in the new Parliament after the lone successful candidate of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), Jamale Pringle was sworn in on Friday.
Walker, who has contested several general elections, won the lone seat on Barbuda during Wednesday’s general election that Prime Minister Gaston Browne called more than a year ahead of the constitutional deadline.
Walker, who returns to parliament four years after being defeated by the ABLP candidate, Arthur Nibbs, said that the appointment of Opposition Leader ‘was neither here nor there.Browne led his Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) to a convincing 15-2 victory.
“It was not up to me or Mr. Pringle unless we got together and decided who gets the position,” he said, adding “had I been offered the position, I probably would not have taken it.
“It’s neither here nor there for me. The people of Barbuda sent me to Parliament to do a job and I am going to do it regardless of whether I am Opposition leader or not.
“I am not hell bent on it. I just pledge to do my very best in the Parliament, to work and represent the people of Barbuda. I want to focus on Barbuda and getting certain things done, their rebuilding efforts and sorting out the land situation,” he added.
Barbuda was heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma when the category 5 storm roared through the Caribbean last September, resulting in voters on the sister isle having to cast their ballots in Antigua.
Walker had unsuccessfully challenged that decision by the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC).
Pringle narrowly defeated the ABLP Colin James by 10 votes in the All Saints East and St Luke constituency – a UPP stronghold.
Pringle’s appointment came as UPP political leader Harold Lovell broke his silence on the party’s dismal performance at the polls. Lovell did not make a statement on election night, but in his statement on Friday, issued through the party’s public relations officer, thanked everyone who played a part in the campaign and offered his congratulations to the winning party.
“To Mr. Gaston Browne and the ABLP, let me offer my congratulations. We live in a democracy, and the majority has spoken. The people have once again given you the mandate to take the country forward, and I wish you well because, in the end, it is all the people who will benefit if things are done properly,” he stated.
In keeping with the UPP’s campaign theme, he told supporters there’s always hope and that the campaign did not end on election night.
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