WRONG_WOEID WRONG_WOEID

How to Win in 2014 - Part II

Decreasing-public-supportPart I traced what the United Progressive Party (UPP) government of Antigua & Barbuda must do to gain back precious ground lost, and win the national elections in 2014.

Part II identifies the approach the opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) could use to reclaim power.

ALP Pathway

The glaring gap between the UPP’s increasing unpopularity and the ALP’s decreasing public support should not be shocking. As the UPP gets more unpopular, that won’t naturally translate into preference for the ALP. Rallying against the Government is not the same thing as rallying for the Opposition.

For example, the people in Libya did not just march against Gaddafi, they marched for their freedom. Nor would talk-show politics alone that expose the government’s shortcomings boost public confidence in the ALP’s leadership.

Given the nuances of local politics, it is not automatic that what occurred in St Lucia and Jamaica will follow in Antigua & Barbuda. If becoming the next government is the name of the game, a major transformation in road map and representation is the absolute precondition. 

Strategically, the ALP must decide what its next move is after its next move. And it must always prepare a solid counter response to the government’s advances. The solution after next should always be on the table before party leaders engage in public advocacy or resistance. A losing tactic is to wait for the people’s frustration to spill over into civil disobedience.


The people may be ready for noble sacrifices only after 2014. Clearly, the ALP must change the people’s doubt that the party is a safer pair of hands to take over the government.

The ALP will also have to inspire grassroots passions for real change. Creativity yoked to urgent needs is essential to move the ordinary person from fear to faith, and from faith to fearlessness. Although the people generally regret voting for the UPP, they are not ready to return to the ALP.

What the ALP must guard against is the paradox of the post-modern mind. It is a mind that could hate the government without loving the opposition. And somehow, it operates on self-interest, not necessarily on party loyalty alone. Party leaders will do well to remember that our social network generation is a different kind of beast. They cannot afford to misread the political landscape to mean that disaffection with Spencer equals affection for Bird.

Love and hate in politics are not always joined at the hips. The ALP must shock itself into the post-modern era with an attractive, youth oriented, and relevant nation-building programme.

Outside the inner sanctum of the ALP, there is a general perception that the former prime minister, Lester Bird, has become a barrier to sure victory. His smooth departure is likely to increase the ALP's chances at winning tenfold. Yet insiders are not quite ready to abandon the vast experience and wisdom of Bird, nor are they willing to risk the enormous political capital that his family legacy contains.


There are sufficient sentiments from party stalwarts that Bird should be given ample space to either retire with his boots on, or leave at his discretion. In contrast, many in the wider society are divided over whether Bird would bring turmoil or stability. As it stands, his legacy is do or die. Bird’s legacy will either punish or restore the ALP to prominence.

With a generational shift in thinking, it  is felt by a younger and more vibrant sector of the party that the only way to prevent the ALP from sitting on the opposition bench for a third unbroken time is to see the back of Bird with or without his approval. This haunting leadership issue will decide the immediate future of the ALP. If it is not settled by the end of this year, the ALP is heading for certain defeat.

Should new leadership emerge, ALP Senator Gail Christian's chances are greater at defeating PM Baldwin Spencer; ALP candidate Dean Jonas with strategic help should take down UPP Dr Jacqui Leandro-Quinn; UPP Senator Dr Errol Cort will most likely return to Parliament; and ALP Max Fernandez and Chet Green are likely to outshine the UPP's John Maginley and Eleston Adams.

It is quite possible that a united ALP could design a sustainable strategic victory pathway with the singular aim of demonstrating that it is the alternative good, not the lesser of two evils. If it does this successfully, it will thrash the UPP. Mounting a winning campaign will require fresh thinking, new energy, and a combination of tried hands with agile legs.

Further, the ALP could attract the people through solid programmes and new initiatives. As constituted, it won’t be easy to convince this generation that the ALP is best suited to create national progress. Yet, the ALP must find a way to do just that. If not, the UPP will continue to be unpopular while the ALP remains devoid of the people’s overwhelming support.


Perhaps ALP leaders should begin with the premise that to win, they’ll have to do a 180 turnaround. The people will continue to tolerate Spencer’s weaknesses for a very long time, if Bird’s strengths are seen as worse.

But if the ALP showcases its political might and links it to the people’s scientific-based pressing needs (not what the party thinks those needs are), it will defeat the UPP with a landslide victory. Winning the future, not relying on the past, is the only sure path to re-election. 

Effective re-positioning does not require an impending disaster to be executed successfully. Winning needs adequate strategic planning time. To wait six months to roll out its campaign could prove to be fatal. The myth of inevitable victory is a poor substitute for the hard choices and necessary sacrifices the ALP must make to win in 2014.

However, the politics of personal ambition must surrender to the needs of the nation and what’s best for the party. Otherwise, destructive threats of fractions and splits will ruin the ALP permanently.
Although two years may appear to be a long time for many unknowns to occur, it does not follow that strategic planning is useless. Our need for sensing future events not only contains its own intrinsic logic, but it is part of human nature and the wisdom of campaigning.

Depending on your psychological or scientific filter, you may choose to tabulate the number of variables that are unlikely to happen, or anticipate the likelihood of various scenarios playing out across time and space. If you do the latter, strategic considerations will anticipate the people's urgent needs and hopes. Seen as a whole, these considerations are likely to unfold with little room for surprises.

But if predicting is too much for your blood, then expect the 2014 general elections to be a slave to fate. One thing is sure post-2014 the Spencer/Bird era will perish of natural causes. With it, the false idea that great leaders come once in a lifetime will collapse. And the almighty lie that size of country determines leadership quantity and quality will died forever.

Dr Isaac Newton is an International Leadership and Change Management Consultant and Political Adviser. He specializes in Government and Business Relations, and Sustainable Development Projects.

Dr. Newton works extensively, in West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America and is a graduate of Oakwood College, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia.

He has published several books on personal development and written many articles on economics, education, leadership, political, social, and faith based issues.

See related stories:

How to Win in 2014 - Part I

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25 Comments In This Article   

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Poesia

#25 Francesco Sinibaldi » 2015-07-01 13:57

When the wind is blowing....

Sometimes my
fantasy appears
in the yellow
dream of a light
pearl and so,
while a noble
intention falls
upon my memory,
I see your desire
and the little
purpose.

Francesco Sinibaldi
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Francesco Sinibaldi

RE: How to Win in 2014 - Part II

#24 watching » 2014-04-20 15:33

it a good thing God is not like man we are unforgiving people.
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watching

Dr Who

#23 GRAYFARM MAN » 2014-03-09 15:46

Newton is a gun for hire. He was a consultant to the UPP in 2004 and sought to become the consultant for ALP in 2009. These guys quote their fees in hundreds of thousands of united states dollars. They are professional
Election fixers AMD I am wondering if he is not seeking engagement for the upcoming elections. I have some respect for his intellectual prowess but I don't want him to stay in the comfort of his united states home, away from home, and tell me what he'll I am going thru here in Antigua. UPP MUST GO!
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GRAYFARM MAN

@ Angry Resident

#22 Thinking Big » 2012-01-19 11:29

You have more Wish bone than Backbone to face the truth. Antiguans and Barbudans have been taking Big Nasty licks from the UPP since 2004. And things are moving from bad to "worser."

Open your eyes right now. Yet the ALP has not gotten the people to throw out the UPP. In fact, in any onther country, with the UPP performing so poorly, the oppositio would be i n government. This is the hard facts. The ALP has lost its appeal... prove Honest Resident Wrong...
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Thinking Big

honest resident

#21 Angry resident » 2012-01-18 15:46

I dont think you have one honest bone in you,you sound like a choir singer,which makes you a partaker in all the wickedness this govt is doing to us.When or if the upp win again it will not be me alone that will be mad,or angry,if a person is suffering and continue to do whatever is causing the suffering it only makes you appear to be an ASS HOLE only a foolish woman would stay with a man who constanly beats and abuse her,so keep voting for the Upp,and lets see who suffers i can tell you one thing it will not be the alp or just me,it will be antigua and barbuda,
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Angry resident

RE: How to Win in 2014 - Part II

#20 Angry resident » 2012-01-18 15:39

Tenman, those mis-steps you mentioned are nothing in comparison with the sufferings we feel now,not that i am saying that we do not deserve good governance,but to even think remotely that those missteps as you see them is enough to keep the upp in office,is just a little less than an insult to people commonsense,if the missteps had caused us the sort of suffering we see now i could see your point,but just for persons like Isaac Newton and yourself who must be daintly clad in wealth to suggest that we are glutton for punishment to shut our eyes and vote for this govt again,you are sadly mistaken,anything except hitler must be better than this govt,and you better be sure that poor people not looking at those missteps instead we are looking for bread and **er for our children,when apus cut you off twice in one yr,think again about missteps and mistakes,we know what we had,we know what we have now,and we know the former is way better than the present.
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Angry resident

Can the ALP Win Again?

#19 Honest Resident » 2012-01-18 14:57

The real issue is not that the UPP is bad or even in some cases worse. The Real issue is that regardless of how Pure the ALP was and how great its leadership in the past, it can't convince the suffering people to vote for it.

The ALP cant win in Antigua again by simply waiting for the UPP to get worse. It has to prove itself a better party. Can't you understand that Angry Resident? you should be happy that the UPP will automatically lose if the ALP is so great...foolish anger. Better put it to strategic intelligence so that the ALP can have a chance at winning. Follow Dr. Newton advice or else you will end up being mad, vex, angry and crying after the UPP win again...
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Honest Resident

angry resident

#18 tenman » 2012-01-18 14:39

angry resident I agree with you that the UPP is a waste and they need to be discarded soonest. However, the ALP needs to do more to convince the electorate that they are a changed organization. Do you recall the scandals before 2004? Instead I hear ALP candidates basically suggesting that they did nothing wrong before 2004, that it was all just UPP propaganda. angry resident do you agree with their denials? Was:

1. the giving of a land certificate to DataTan even before he paid the concessionary price not a misstep?
2. The constructions of the airport under a company owned by Vere Bird not a misstep?
3. Ensuring proper controls at MBS to prevent the scandal, involving ministers of the sitting government, not a misstep?
4. The decision to get involved with a man who was selling guns to South Africa, was this not a misstep?
5. The decision to invest in a public market vs, allowing APUA to re-equip itself, angry resident was this not a miss step?
6. Sale of the airport lands....

angry resident please do not allow your anger to blind your judgement, we should all want good governance for this country
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tenman

OK NOW!!!

#17 angry resident » 2012-01-18 13:27

Do i smell a bloody ratta here??????? WTF is wrong with Newton& Tenman? What de F beam should the alp take from its eyes in order for anyone to vote for them,the beam cant be heavier to carry than the dam hardship forced on us by this glaring sunshine govt that has lost all its glow, the cloud hanging over us right now is so dam thick& dark,that the beam in alps eyes pale in comparison.It is time that all the accusations of corruption by the alp be proven or else time to get off their backs and concentrate on the sorry pitifull excuse of the UPP govt.Get real man,this is not trying to prove who brighter than who and who better with words,this a man life ru a F WID YA. GET EFFING REAL.
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angry resident

alp will not lose,antigua will

#16 HC » 2012-01-18 11:04

The writer of this article,and the commentors who think that the upp may win another election,must be really well off. for the info of you guys,poverty is real,it knows no color,age, or name,It is a real part of life in antigua today, the suffering ones like myself,will not see,Bird,or spencer,we will feel hungry bellies and candle lit nights,if thats not enough to tell you that we need a change from where we are now,then i dont know what else will.
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HC

Keeping Faith

#15 John French II » 2012-01-18 01:52

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. Dr. Isaac Newton. Thanks. Respect.
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John French II

Pat White

#14 Deep Roots » 2012-01-17 22:03

Pat there is no need for clarification just read the article again it is self explanatory.
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Deep Roots

@ Colin

#13 Dr. Peterson Paul » 2012-01-17 15:01

I suspect when the people of Antigua and Barbuda are realy for change, they will move beyond the realm of blind party politics. There is a self-ish citizenry, of whom, national interests and the common good is a major threat. That citizenry is thrive on self-centered politics alone.

What's in it for me dominates national politics, not Red or Blue....

Dr. Newton's diagnosis stands at the practical juncture of where Antiguans and Barbudas are. I have read him many commentaries exhorting them to move forward to sustainable nation-building.

When? Whey they stop being so greedy and self-ish.
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Dr. Peterson Paul

@ Cooler Ruler

#12 2 Cents » 2012-01-17 14:55

Tell the truth! It is some White Consultants from the US that adviced the ALP in the last elections. Why lie about Dr. Newton advising them?

Had he done the campaign strategy and had they followed local intelligence, the UPP would be on the opposition bench.

Now do you think that the UPP can win again with its impressive poor performance in 2014? Let's discuss ideas and campaign strategy...
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2 Cents

@ Cool Ruler

#11 UPP Supporter » 2012-01-17 12:44

Doc I read Part I when you dished out the UPP's strategy it said that PM BS had to go. Now in Part II you said that the ALP can only win with change of direction and leadership. Great analysis Sir!

At least Cooler Ruler you have to be objective. Why be one sided in your comments? You didn't see Part I? Read i t1
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UPP Supporter

RE: How to Win in 2014 - Part II

#10 Cool Ruler » 2012-01-17 12:01

What happen why your going public they not taking your advice anymore, or have they gone back to sir sir. After all I remember all your strategy meetings you had with them before the last election. I love hindsight because its 20/20 and armchair quarterbacking is always a good position to play. Anyone who can remember Antigua being referred to under the ALP as one of the most corrupt country in the world will be wary of returning the discredited bunch to power no matter how hapless the detractors say they are.
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Cool Ruler

Serious Analysis

#9 Snake Yard » 2012-01-17 12:01

Doc Newton, the ALP is about to split into many pieces. Don't you know that there is the Asot sector, the Gaston Brown Sector, the Lester Bird sector and the Yearwood/Joseph sector?

That party won't survive as a unified party to challenge UPP come 2014.

If the party follow your recommendations, they will survive. The party needs real solid trategic intelligence to help them.
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Snake Yard

@ Bird, Gaston and Asot

#8 City Girl » 2012-01-17 11:57

The ALP can't win with Lester Bird. It neeeeeeds a change in leadership and philosophy. The UPP, PM BS and Minister Horald Lovell are easy to defeat but a radical change is needed.

Getting rid of old hats like Max Hurst and Ron Saunders whose ideas are outdated and approaches impractical is the way to Go. Leave Asot Micheal, he is good for the ALP. He is the only Doer and Shaker in this party.
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City Girl

RE: How to Win in 2014 - Part II

#7 DadliMan » 2012-01-17 11:20

The way a party carries itself instills confidence in the populace, that the party is ready to lead the country forward. We all agree that this UPP experience has been a disaster. However, the ALP has not exactly filled me with confidence that they are ready.

The ALP strikes me as a lazy, do-nothing bunch. They seem to be of the opinion that they can win the next election by default. Your point is well taken that our loathing of the UPP does not necessarily equal love for the ALP. The sooner the ALP accepts this fact and start working in the trenches, the better.
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DadliMan

lazy

#6 tenman » 2012-01-17 09:17

Dr. Newton well said. The question is will the ALP sit on its laurels and tell itself that victory is sure? Will it seriously examine itself and make the needed changes to ensure victory? The ALP needs to remind itself that prior to 2009, it thought and publicly stated that it would win the 2009 elections. If it examines its handling of the spending by the ministry of sports, it would recongnize that ithas allowed an oppertunity to be lost. All the UPP did was turn the focus from their actions to the ALP past actions. The bibilcal advice for the ALP is that they need to first take the beam out of their own eye before many voters will consinder them credible. Their focus should not only be on trying to win the government but to also win the confidence of the voters because without this, they will not be able to govern.
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tenman

The Final Diagnosis?

#5 Colin » 2012-01-17 08:25

Dr. Newton's sovereign formula for an ALP victory over even a hapless UPP underlines the fatal pathology in the life of our fair nation: the belief that the ALP/UPP Birdite political legacy must necessarily be the only way forward for A&B.
Can it truly be that clearthinking people from all corners of the political spectrum cannot find common cause to craft a workable path towards a sustainable future?
Without a critical mass of such citizens to act as a fulcrum for change the Birdbrain mountain - red & blue - will never be moved.
If not now, when?
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Colin

@ PLM/Country Man

#4 Independent Voter » 2012-01-17 08:24

The ALP will win because the UPP is such a waste of time failure. Winning in 2014 will be easy because the UPP will flat out lose.

It's more than the Economy. It's about Trustworthy Leadership...trust me Doc
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Independent Voter

On Target

#3 Sharon » 2012-01-17 08:22

Your analysis is on target here. The ALP can't take for granted that they will automatically win. Yes, the UPP is doing very poorly, but without fundamental changes in "roadmap and representation" the ALP will stay in opposition.
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Sharon

Help Me

#2 Pat White » 2012-01-17 08:21

Are you saying doc that the UPP will lose with Spencer but the ALP can't win with Bird? Clear the air for me please.
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Pat White

Time to Change

#1 My Country » 2012-01-17 07:34

While the UPP clearly has no clue as to how to run the country, the ALP under its old leadership is not a sure bet. Appearing tired, old in his thinking and seemingly living in the memories of bygone days, the ALP needs new leadership if it is to win the 2014 election. The ALP will not win on a protest vote. It must present itself as a vibrant and viable alternative and that will not happen under the old leadership. Its time that Lester step aside from the leadership of the ALP for the good of the party, the nation, and more importantly those persons looking for some hope.
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My Country

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Dr.Isaac Newton

Dr. newtonDr. Isaac Newton is an International Leadership and Change Management Consultant and Political Adviser. He specializes in Government and Business Relations and Sustainable Development Projects. Dr. Newton works extensively in West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America and is a graduate of Oakwood College, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia. He has published several books on personal development and written many articles on economics, education, leadership, political, social, and faith based issue

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