St. Mary’s constituency is set to undergo a political shakeup as Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), has resigned from his position.
Simon’s decision to step down was made in a bid to initiate bi-elections within the constituency. His resignation comes amidst an ongoing legal battle that questions his legitimacy as a parliamentary representative. Mr. Simon emerged victorious in the January 18 polls, defeating his counterpart Samantha Marshall to secure the seat.
Nevertheless, his tenure has been marred by controversy, as a petition challenging his right to sit in Parliament as the Representative for St. Mary’s South was served upon him. The grounds for this challenge solely revolve around the claim that he was disqualified due to his employment as a public servant at the time of his nomination.
“The Petitioner and the Antigua Labour Party first sought to prevent me from being sworn in as a Member of Parliament by seeking an injunction from the Court. This was refused by the Court on February 14, 2023. Since that date, I have been consumed by the litigation and the media controversy. This has created an unwarranted hindrance to the proper execution of my duties as the representative for the constituency of St. Mary’s South,” he wrote in a press statement.
The matter is due to be heard by the Court during the first week of July. But Mr. Simon notes that whomever loses the case will appeal to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal which will delay the final outcome even further, as the appeal will have to be heard and a decision given.
Amidst this contentious situation, the MP has taken a bold step by resigning from his position, aiming to allow the constituents of St. Mary’s South to determine their representative through a bi-election. By triggering this electoral process, Simon hopes to settle the ongoing dispute and seek a fresh mandate from the electorate.
“It is unfair to the people of St. Mary’s South to have this uncertainty hanging over their heads. This situation needs to be resolved without further delay. Therefore, my decision, today, June 7, 2023, is that I want this matter to be settled by the people; not by the Court. The constituents of St. Mary’s South elected me convincingly before, and I am confident that they will do so again in a by-election,’ he said.
“After careful consideration and prayers, I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Speaker of the House, Sir Gerald Watt, KC, informing him of my decision to vacate the seat in Parliament, so that a by-election can be held within the next 120 days, as the law mandates.”
“This will create conditions for a clean break and reset and allow the people of St. Mary’s South to reaffirm me as their MP. To allow this matter to drag on for another 12 months will only distract and diminish the desire of constituents in St. Mary’s South,” he added.