Monday, 18 June 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St John's - The Antigua Labour Party (ALP) could be moving towards the abandonment of the proposed Motion of No-Confidence against the ruling administration.
This apparent shift in strategy follows the inability of opposition Member of Parliament Molwyn Joseph to convince his party colleagues at the executive level that the “Power Plants” challenge against the government was on solid footing.
According to information reaching this publication from within the party’s executive, party spokesman Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin openly challenged Joseph, who failed to hold his argument.
“Molwyn presented the power plant issue and got knocked down by Cutie,” the source said. “He failed to prove that the engines were used because everything he presented was based on speculation.”
The source said that based on this and a series of other events, ALP leader Lester Bird reportedly said it made no sense to proceed with the motion, which he failed to debate in the Lower House at the last sitting in late May.
Just last week, Caribarena had received information, gleaned from another ALP Executive meeting, indicating that deputy leader Gaston Browne had proposed the ALP abandon the no confidence motion due to issues of corruption that could be used against the party.
When questioned about that matter Browne labeled the allegation as “political assassination”, and declined to comment further.
When contacted about this additional issue he further declined to add to the discussion, noting that he was not in support of executive members “with hidden agendas” leaking confidential and internal information.
On the issue of corruption, however, the source said that based on the frank internal talks some senior members made others bluntly aware of the party’s own concerns of corruption that could be used against them with more teeth than the power plant saga.
They reportedly spoke of matters like the ongoing IHI case and the period when party members paid some 5 cents per gallon for petroleum while the rest of the population were made to pay market prices.
“It was said that the ALP cannot wage any successful offensive on the issue of corruption because it has a long history of corruption in the party’s more than two decades in government,” the source said.
“With all the fat chat, many of them should be very concerned about the blows they are going to get.”
Further, it was revealed that the majority of the party’s executive were not convinced that the group leading the Power Plant challenge could stand up well in a debate should the matter be discussed on the floor of parliament.
“It is true that the labour party is vulnerable. The ALP lost the last two elections because of public opinion on the whole issue of corruption.”
Steadroy Cutie Benjamin said he shared his views at an internal meeting and would rather not discuss them in the public domain.
"I have no comment. Whatever we discussed in the party was an internal issue. I don't understand our party..." he said.
Molwyn Joseph declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Caribarena. He said only the leader of the party should speak on such matters.
Efforts to reach the ALP leader were unsuccessful.