Serpent responds to backlash, “It goes way deeper than that”

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

OBSERVER by Newsco

Controversy surrounding on-air comments about a government minister has been called an “isolated issue.”

That statement was made by United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate for St George, Algernon ‘Serpent’ Watts, who defended comments made towards St. Mary’s South MP, Samantha Marshall on August 29.

UPP Candidate for St George, Algernon ‘Serpent’ Watts. (File photo)

Residents responded with heavy backlash, describing the comments as ‘crude’, ‘misogynistic’ and ‘strongly prejudiced against women.’

Minister of Gender Affairs and St George MP, Dean Jonas, even played Marshall’s social media response in last week’s Post Cabinet Press Briefing in condemnation of Watts’ comments.

Watts told Observer that the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP)Agriculture Minister has made several comments and posts on social media and in Parliament in an attempt to politicise his “abandoned” farm, publicly questioning Watts’ abilities in his business in the past.

“I don’t know what is her agenda, I kept quiet long enough in the face of, and in light of that criticism and attacks. I’ve ignored most of them, I just got to a point where I decided to respond, so without knowing the backstory maybe someone not knowing what is going on may think that, but it goes way deeper than that,” he declared in an interview yesterday.

The matter was also discussed on yesterday’s Big Issue show with a panel of experts providing their perspective on the matter.

Barbadian Senator Christina Hinds was supported by Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Candidate Chaniel Imhoff in her stance that the comments were a bit “unfortunate.”

Barbadian Senator, Christina Hinds. (Photo courtesy Nation News)

They also said [that it was] “a little bit odd, considering the context of the show that I was able to listen to. I think it illustrates a level of political discourse that is less than admirable, and I hope that in the Caribbean we can move away from,” Hinds commented.

UPP Chairperson D Gisele Isaac shared her surprise that the matter was being debated given that it has occurred in the past with other officials and nothing was said or done.

UPP Chairperson, D Gisele Isaac. (File photo)

“There are so many other important matters that we ought to be discussing right now that I question the timing of this particular incident being made news, when this has happened so many times in this country, in this context where somebody on radio says something about a political opponent and there is nothing said about it,” Isaac argued.

Political analyst, Dr Oswald Thomas. (Facebook photo)

Political analyst, Dr Oswald Thomas, also shared his observations on the matter, saying the UPP has always upheld itself as virtuous, and the Political Leader Harold Lovell had previously gone on record to condemn similar comments made by opponents in the ruling party.

“In any other country, Serpent would have been asked to resign or fired,” Thomas said.

Meanwhile, Watts responded to the resignation suggestion by asserting, “I’m ignoring anything that he has to say because it is not coming from an independent mind.”