ST. JOHN’S — Several Antigua Labour Party officials have finally broken their silence to back newly elected leader Gaston Browne as they welcomed the injection of young blood and a possible modern approach to leadership.
In the lead up to the party’s Biennial Convention where Browne, 45, beat 74-year-old former leader Lester Bird, many party officials declined to state who they would support.
However, yesterday, Eustace Teco Lake, Paul Chet Greene, Dean Jonas and Samantha Marshall said they are supportive of Browne’s rise to helm of the party as it gives the ALP renewed hope.
Lake said, “We need young leadership, someone who is strong and who can bring the candidates together and move the party forward. I’m not saying comrade leader Bird doesn’t have the ability, but we have a cadre of candidates within the party who are younger, more nimble and we need that to take the party to the next level.”
Bird went into the battle with a troubled spine that has been plaguing him for years and affects his ability to walk upright and briskly and even his ability to sit for long periods. Also, he’s fainted in public several times as a result of diabetes.
Meantime, MP Lake said the young budding leaders are also experienced and qualified, with many of them being university graduates and professionals in public and private sector.
Lake said change was inevitable and the older comrades should embrace the younger ones.
“I believe the ALP is changing. If you look at Gaston Browne, Asot Michael, myself, Chet Greene, Gail Christian, we carry a very young slate and I strongly believe the reason people are coming towards us is because we are able to relate to them.
“All the comrades need to embrace the leadership and remember now it is more for national development and not individual development,” he added.
Greene said he welcomes the change because “what young people are looking for is representation and someone they can relate to.”
All the parties agreed on protecting the legacy of the aged former two-term prime minister Lester Bird who served as the ALP’s political leader for 19 years – a reign that ended in the wee hours Monday when Browne beat him 213 votes to 180. (Antigua Observer)