Wednesday, 13 February 2013 02:30
By Caseen Wilson
Antigua St. John's - Michael Freeland, son of Sir Adolphus Freeland, who served the St George’s constituency for 23 years, has announced his intentions to contest the 2014 general election on the Antigua Labour Party ticket in the St George’s constituency.
In an interview with Caribarena, Freeland said his background in political science and international relations was more than ideal to qualify him to run for the post, and he intends to take the constituency forward through a solid relationship with the people and a firm investment in the youth.
“I have worked for the government for five years as an international trade technician in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade,” Freeland said. “I was born and raised in the community of Barnes Hill, and am a very active member in the community.
My childhood and most of my adolescent years, I played basketball, football, and cricket for this same community. Being from a religious family, I grew up in the St George’s Anglican Church, of which I am still a parishioner.”
He said he feels comfortable in a constituency littered with family and friends, and considers himself a “well-rounded” individual in the areas of community and youth development.
Freeland added, “I am very personable, and although one could regard me as a son of Labour, I do see myself as a son of St George’s as well.
His signalled interest comes as the Antigua Labour Party embarks on a mission to rebrand itself with renewed energy and focus, under new leadership.
When asked his thoughts on his expected responsibility within the constituency should he be given the opportunity to lead, Freeland said he would first commit himself to the people, gaining their trust in his sense of responsibility and accountability.
“People must be empowered, and know that we are all contributing to a positive goal,” he said. “Your being must be open to hearing the views and understand what is it that must be done. I intend to ensure that through the will of the constituents, I am giving the best representation.”
Speaking from the perspective of “an effective leader,” the self-proclaimed son of St George’s and Labour pointed out that he has vision, and is armed with a plan poised for effective execution.
“The planning and execution must be effective. Often times, we have ideas and we allow the ideas to get the better of us… And as a leader if you can’t bestow vision on the people then off the bat you will fail as a leader,” he said.
Freeland noted that by the time he is through, the people of St George’s will appreciate his leadership attributes.
He proposed a campaign platform geared at realising greater togetherness, formed on the pillars of community spirit and the age-old notion that it takes a village to raise a child.
“Everyone looked out for each other then,” Freeland said. “There was no I, it was always we. Whether it’s a May Fete or football game, a soca sensation or a lime on the block, it didn’t matter, it was always a community-driven spirit. So I do believe that with greater togetherness, we can achieve almost anything.”
He proposed to carry this platform forward using his networking strengths and the belief that sticking to one’s word is a man’s greatest asset.
He used his experience in managing the Myst Carnival troupe to make his point, noting that as a manager, he and his team have overcome great odds through strategic planning and execution.
Freeland said he hopes not to gain anything from political office and wants nothing more than to lead and assist in the “rebuilding” of the St George’s constituency.
When asked about his part in the new labour movement, and his thoughts about a new party with Gaston Browne’s leadership, Freeland said, “Labour Party will always be Labour Party. Once you are a Labourite, whomever is showcasing their vision - whether it be Molwyn Joseph, Cutie Benjamin, Gaston Browne, Robin Yearwood... whichever leader steps forward and decide that they are representing the party, the vision is collective. It doesn’t start or end with any one person.
Gaston Browne is now the leader of the party. I am not one to believe with Gaston or Lester at the helm, our chances are greater or lesser. What you have to have is a cadre of candidates that people can look at.”
A senior official of the ALP confirmed on Sunday that Freeland is being “actively considered” to replace Dean Jonas, who unsuccessfully contested against Quinn-Leandro in 2009 on the ALP ticket.