Monday, 03 September 2012 02:31
By caribarena news
Antigua St. John’s - The apparent burst of energy from leader of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) Lester Bird will undoubtedly serve to his and the party’s benefit, and could well be carried through to the next 15 years.
This is according to senior ALP member and historian Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, who said in defense of his party leader that he undoubtedly has the potential to serve Antigua & Barbuda effectively to years equal to, if not extended past, those of his late father VC Bird.
Hurst was at the time in dialogue with Caribarena on a series of issues currently affecting the ALP, including but not limited to Lester Bird’s renewed vigour and his apparent “flip-flop” position on the matter of Economic Citizenship in Antigua & Barbuda.
Speaking to the latter concern, Hurst explained that it might appear to some that Lester Bird might have wavered somewhat two weeks ago when he expressed the notion that the Economic Citizenship would indeed be beneficial to the Antigua & Barbuda economy.
At the time Bird was speaking on a ZDK radio programme. But Hurst believes that the main point of that presentation was missed, since Bird was rather reiterating the position expressed to him by a committee put in place to examine the feasibility of the move. Bird had held talks with that group prior to speaking on the matter.
Bird’s true position, according to Hurst, has never actually wavered from that of the Economic Citizenship initiative being a people’s choice, since it is they who add value to the nation’s passport and ultimately its sovereignty.
“I see it (Bird’s strength) lasting another 15 years. I see no flip-flop on the part of economic citizenship. The matter has been discussed internally and as far as I am concerned Mr. Bird’s position has remained the same.
“My understanding about what occurred recently on radio was an expression of the views of the board that consisted of six persons led by Mr. Fitzmaurice Christian (of Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority),” Hurst said.
Asked for specifics about the Board, the ALP stalwart said as far as he was concerned, “It's a secret group” with no publicly pronounced mandate.
In the meantime, Caribarena grilled Hurst on speculations about the progression of Gaston Browne to the seat of ALP leader in light of wavering confidence in the health and strength of Lester Bird.
Hurst said ascension of any kind for Browne could only come from the ALP Convention set to take place in November. And as far as he was aware, Browne has no interest in challenging Lester Bird for his position as leader, having expressed this openly on several occasions.
Hurst also countered rumours that senior ALP officials were actively lobbying for a coup within the party.
“I can give you the assurance that Mr. Browne will not be the leader of the party after November. This issue of an ALP leadership shake-up is a dead issue that is being kept alive only by the media. There is no finessing. And to the best of my knowledge there is no one trying to remove Mr. Bird. If there is, then that is being done very discreetly,” Hurst said.
Caribarena has managed to confirm that the ALP continues to face candidate selection challenges for at least two constituencies - St. Phillip South and All Saints West. These matters, according to Hurst, will be settled at the ALP Convention in November.