By Ken Richards
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (WINN) -- Prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda Baldwin Spencer says despite the polls and predictions suggesting an opposition victory, his United Progressive Party (UPP) will win the general election on June 12.
He is dismissive of what’s been described as confident noises being made by the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) and its leader Gaston Browne.
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer
"Confident noises, and that's precisely what those are, 'noises.' What I'm saying is that clearly the opposition would want to give the impression that it's all over and they're going to win the election hands down. I have a different view and the people of Antigua and Barbuda have a different view. I believe that the people of Antigua and Barbuda know what the real issues are, and know who is best able to chart the future the future course of Antigua and Barbuda, and that is the United Progressive Party," Spencer said.
The electoral machinery in Antigua and Barbuda is well oiled and poised to deliver a free and fair election, according to Spencer.
"I feel reasonably confident. Free and fair elections are what could be said to be the norm in Antigua and Barbuda... and quite frankly throughout the Caribbean," he told WINN FM's The Bigger Picture.
The UPP leader says he doesn’t expect, this time around, the kinds of disruptive problems that surfaced during the 2009 national poll.
There are times when you have issues that could affect the process, and we're hoping that what we went through, that the battle we had in 2009 will definitely not repeat itself, and this is one of the reasons why, quite apart from the fact that the litigation that was masterminded by the opposition would have prevented an earlier poll in Antigua and Barbuda," he said.
"I also had to be satisfied in my own mind that the Electoral Commission was in a position to conduct these elections and to do them transparently and... in a verifiable manner, without what we went through in 2009. I had to be satisfied that things are in place, I am now satisfied that that is so."
Meanwhile, Browne has suggested that the election is ABLP’s to lose, meaning that it is extremely confident of victory.
Barbados-based pollster Peter Wickham agrees.
That’s my... assessment as well. I think that if the election is lost at this stage, it would definitely be the ABLP struggling. But it is the ABLP's election to lose, and I think that generally speaking analysts in Antigua and Barbuda are of that opinion as well," he told WINN FM.
"I mean, we're not saying that it cannot be lost, but we're saying that it's theirs to lose, and if it is lost at this stage then it really be there fault."
Wickham addressed the question of what the incumbent UPP could do at this stage to pull ahead of the ALP.
"If the UPP is able to convince Antiguans that the shadow of the ALP is still pretty much the same, with the old leadership is pretty much the same, the old problems, and that those problems are fundamentally greater than the problems it's facing now economically," Wickham said.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network