Wednesday, 23 May 2012 02:30
By press release
Antigua St John's - In an interview with the Daily Observer, Mr. Peter Wickham, a Barbadian political analyst criticized Lester Bird and his ability to lead the ALP and, potentially, a Government of Antigua and Barbuda.
Wickham stated that the leader of the opposition is "elderly", "in an age group" above 70 years, and should seek alternative political routes.
The ALP have responded to the remarks made by Wickham. The full ALP statement is reprinted below:
The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ALP) rejects as completely farcical and politically-motivated the recent statement by the paid, Barbadian pollster and analyst connected to the UPP (United Progressive Party).
Peter Wickham was quoted in the Observer Newspaper of today, Monday May 21 2012, as saying that the Honourable Lester Bird, Political Leader of the ALP and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, should “set off on a different political adventure” by leaving elective politics. The article refers to the Honourable Lester Bird as “elderly” and being in “an age group” above 70 years.
The ALP rejects the so-called advice of Peter Wickham as being deliberately aimed at undermining the leadership of the ALP, which is a repeat of his efforts in the run-up to the 2009 general elections. In 2009, Wickham made equally offensive remarks about leadership, age and in-fighting. The electorate of the Rural East Constituency returned the Honourable Lester Bird to Parliament despite Wickham’s farcical claims, then.
The ALP reminds Mr. Wickham and his backers that Hon. John Compton was 82 years old when he successfully sought re-election as Head of the Political Party and the Government of St. Lucia. The ALP also reminds that US Senator John McCain successfully sought and was nominated in 2008, when 74 years old, as the Republican nominee for President for the USA.
History reminds us that Franklyn D. Roosevelt served as US President from a wheelchair, at a time when the USA faced its worst economic trials and a war. The ALP reminds that Prime Minister Blaize of Grenada was not only beyond 70 years but was also wheel-chaired during his period as Head of Government of Grenada during that country’s most trying time.
The ALP has come to the conclusion that Wickham and his backers are determined to destroy the ALP, to undermine the ALP’s drive to re-capture the government from Mr. Baldwin Spencer and the UPP, and that these pronouncements are aimed at shaping the outcome of the upcoming general elections, slated for 2014. There is nothing of value which Peter Wickham and the UPP could sensibly offer to the ALP in the form of advice.
Only the 400 voting delegates at an ALP Convention will determine the viability of any ALP candidate and leader, not Wickham and his UPP backers. The Antigua and Barbuda people, and the people of the Rural East Constituency, are very pleased with the representation from the Hon.Lester Bird since 2009 when he was returned to parliament. They are also pleased with the Hon.
Lester Bird’s record of achievement as Minister of Economic Development and Prime Minister. The people of Antigua and Barbuda will be even more pleased when the Honourable Lester Bird returns to the helm of Government, after 2014 or sooner.
The ALP rejects the unworthy and farcical advice proffered by Peter Wickham and his backers.