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PM in billboard argument: “This is a country of laws”

by Pointe Xpress
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Prime Minister Gaston Browne has reminded the St. Peter MP that Antigua and Barbuda is governed by laws after a row began over campaign billboards.

As electioneering increases, political parties are mounting billboards that display the candidates they will present to the public to manage the affairs of the country.

MP Asot Michael, who will contest the election as an independent, had his request to erect more than sixty billboards rejected by the Development Control Authority (DCA) which instead granted him permission to erect fifteen.

Michael has since accused ABLP government of using its influence to manipulate the system against him.

Last week, Prime Minister Browne claimed that the embattled St. Peter MP attempted to construct sixty-two 16×32 billboards without the necessary approval.

Some of his billboards even blocked the billboards of other political parties and obstructed the view of motorists.

“Just like the Labour Party had to apply over a year ago and then reapply to get its approvals, Asot Michael is not above the law. We will never instruct any regulatory authority, but we expect every regulatory authority to ensure that those who they regulate operate within the confines of the law and where they breach the laws of the country, they are expected to take appropriate action.

‘This is a country of laws,” the prime minister stated in Parliament last Thursday.

Browne also denied that the Development Control Authority sought his input concerning the removal of billboards. He said as an active prime minister, however, whose ears are “to the ground” he knows “precisely what is happening”.

He reminded all political parties, including the main opposition United Progressive Party, of their responsibility during the campaign season to seek permission from the relevant agencies to erect signs and other campaign related materials y.

“They are required to write to the DCA to identify the various sites for DCA to do a site check to make sure there’ll be no traffic violations, no obstruction of the view of motorists, or even pedestrians for that matter, and they too are required to follow the processes as established in law. And if they fail to follow the processes, then they cannot expect to have any approvals.

“If, however, they follow the processes as established by law and in the regulations, then clearly the DCA will give the necessary approvals.”

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