Prime Minister Gaston Browne has called a snap election to take advantage of what he calls opposition disarray and to “protect” over a billion dollars in projects, which, he said, are in the pipeline.
Twenty-days from tomorrow (Tuesday), the electorate in Antigua and Barbuda will go to the polls and Browne hopes that the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), which he leads, would be the people’s choice for another term.
The election will happen 15 months before it is constitutionally due – June 2019 – which is five years from when the last general elections were held.
PM Browne said that on Friday, he asked the Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams to dissolve Parliament today, Monday, and to issue the Writ of Elections on Tuesday.
The prime minister made the disclosure before thousands of people who showed up for the unveiling of the party’s candidates and a free concert with performances from local, regional and international artistes.
“We are doing this for you, for your development, for your advancement. For the last three and a half years our detractors have been calling for elections, now we calling elections they say it is too early…presently we have approximately $1.5 billion of investment programmes for 2018…my dear people, we have to protect that,” he said.
Browne said early elections will provide “stability” for investment because investors are ready to spend their money in Antigua and Barbuda on a $250 million “new cargo port” which starts in April; a $250 million road project; Sunwing Hotel; two Marriott hotels to “be built this year”; the expansion of Veranda Hotel and Tamarind Hills; and to expand green energy production.
The prime minister added that with green energy, residents will see a reduction in electricity bills.