By Caribbean News Now contributor
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- “Today is the dawn of a new day,” said Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) leader Gaston Browne as he delivered his first address as prime minister elect of Antigua and Barbuda.
In the general elections on Thursday, the ABLP overwhelmingly defeated the United Progressive Party (UPP) of former prime minister Baldwin Spencer, winning 14 seats to 3 seats for the UPP.
Spencer publicly conceded defeat just after midnight and he said he was willing to support Browne as long as he is worked in the interest of the country.
“I wish the new government well and I say so with all sincerity because as far as I’m concerned, what is important now is for us to come together as a nation,” Spencer said. “Let the healing begin almost instantly and bring the country together in the interests of Antigua and Barbuda.”
New Prime Minister Gaston Browne
Browne said that he is humbled by the confidence that the people of Antigua and Barbuda has placed in him and the ABLP.
“The work has just begun. The country is in dire straits and requires the effort of all, the entire population to join our efforts to move forward. We must remain a strong united nation in order for us to achieve our goal of rebuilding the nation,” he said.
“The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party has set an impressive vision for Antigua and Barbuda to transform it into an economic powerhouse. The country is in dire straits and we must remain hopeful for a bright future. We have the capacity to achieve that vision to make Antigua and Barbuda the envy of the Caribbean. We have the capacity to create full employment. We have the capacity to attract investment to grow this country,” Browne added.
In addressing the way forward for his administration and Antigua and Barbuda, Browne noted, “As servant leader, I will lead a team that will be the servants of the people and I will be a Prime Minister who is not divorced from the people but dedicated to serve. I say to every Antiguan and Barbudan that we will honour our commitment to you. We will not betray your trust. We pledge to work in your interest. We are the people’s hope and aspirations. We will hit the road running.”
“We ask you to stand with us. Lend us your support in transforming Antigua and Barbuda into an all-inclusive society. We must embrace everyone going forward. We must do so to transform Antigua and Barbuda into an economic powerhouse. As your servant leader, this is my promise,” Browne concluded.
Browne and his attorney general designate Steadroy Benjamin were sworn in shortly after noon on Friday by Governor General Dame Louise Lake Tack.
Friday was also declared a public holiday.
The successful candidates for the ABLP were:
1. Gaston A. Browne -- Prime Minister Elect / St John’s City West
2. Steadroy C.O. Benjamin -- Attorney General Designate / St John’s City South
3. Arthur Nibbs -- Barbuda
4. Lester B. Bird -- St John’s Rural East
5. Robin K. Yearwood -- St Phillip North
6. Molwyn M. Joseph -- St Mary’s North
7. Asot Michael -- St Peter
8. Charles Fernandez -- St John’s Rural North
9. Samantha N. Marshall -- St Mary’s South
10. E. Paul C. Greene -- St Paul
11. Eustace S. Lake -- St John’s Rural South
12. Melford W. F. Nicholas -- St John’s City East
13. Dean Jonas -- St George
14. Michael Browne -- All Saints West
The successful candidates for the UPP, who will form the parliamentary opposition, were:
1. W. Baldwin Spencer -- Former Prime Minister / St John’s Rural West
2. Willmoth S. Daniel -- St Phillip South
3. Joanne M. Massiah -- All Saints East and St Luke