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I’m not going anywhere – Browne

I’m not going  anywhere – Browne
Luke Browne

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by Lyf Compton

Luke Browne says he is not going anywhere.

The former Minister of Health was not named last week among the Cabinet of Ministers in the new Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration, fuelling speculation that he had reached the end of the road in relation to his political ambitions.

I’m not going  anywhere - Browne
Luke Browne with a ULP supporter showing their enthusiasm for their party

Browne sat down with SEARCHLIGHT last week and said except for travelling to the United Kingdom to finish his legal studies, he will be back to contest the 2025 General Elections, once given the nod by the ULP.

The November 5, 2020 General Elections saw Browne going under in East Kingstown by 241 votes; losing to newcomer, the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Fitzgerald Bramble who amassed 2547 compared to Browne’s 2306.

The margin in 2015 with then leader of the opposition Arnhim Eustace was 149.  Browne has now lost the battle for the seat, considered an NDP stronghold, three consecutive times.

The day after the elections, Browne was seen crying in a video recording while surrounded by supporters, and while many persons on the opposing side joked about his emotional state, supporters of the candidate linked it to the bond the politician and former minister of health shares with constituents.

“The first thing that I want to dispel is the idea that I am moving away from East Kingstown. I want it to be abundantly clear that East Kingstown is a place that I call home and I am committed to the development and upliftment of this constituency in one shape or form over the course of my whole life.

“So there is no retreat from this constituency and we are going to ultimately get the job done here,” Browne said from his constituency office in Sion Hill on Wednesday.

He said that a thorough look at the 2020 election results show that in East Kingstown, the number of persons who voted for the ULP increased.

“This is an exceptional thing and there were three constituencies in which there were an actual increase in the number of voters for the ULP,” Browne said while naming North and Central Leeward as the other two.

“So I think that is a tribute to the hard work and organization of the people in the constituency. We were operating in circumstances where there was a swing away from the Unity Labour Party.

“A swing occasioned by the fact that the Prime Minister said several persons who were supporters did not turn out to vote, but we showed great resilience even in those circumstances,” Browne commented.

He said that in all his campaign bids in East Kingstown, the ULP has increased the number of persons who voted for the party and moved the margin from 467 in 2010 to 149 in 2015.

“If it wasn’t for the leadership and organization on the ground, we could have easily been in a situation in this constituency with a runaway margin, but we are holding this tight and between 2010 and 2015 we increased the number of ULP voters.

“Between 2015 and 2020, we increased the number of ULP supporters so there is a trajectory of increase so this is going to manifest itself with a big and decisive victory for the ULP in the future and we are going to set things in motion,” Browne said.

He said the loss has allowed him and his team to become more focused on what political work would be required for the upcoming period.

“I have a lot of experience with elections and there are talents and abilities that I would like to bring into use for the service of the people,” Browne explained, while noting that he has bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Barbados.

He is also a Rhodes Scholar who graduated from Oxford University in the UK with a masters degree in applied statistics. He also holds a graduate diploma in law which gives him the equivalent of a bachelor of laws degree (LLB) and is nine months away from being able to practice here.

He said this will happen with the completion of his bar studies in the UK at BPP University Law School.

“I am looking at completing my bar studies and giving myself another dimension as the representative of the people of East Kingstown and of the entire country.

“I am committed to this with my whole heart and this is something that was born out of a love, compassion and a genuine desire to improve the condition of persons’ lives,” Browne explained.

He said elections are secondary, and while a candidate wants to win an election, it is second to the process of ministering to people’s lives.

“…and secondary to the process of knowing that you could help children who might have a difficulty with their education opportunity, you could help somebody who might be struggling to make ends meet get a better situation, to help some persons who might have a difficult situation with their home to get an improvement in their condition in life.

“To be a part of an individual’s family, being able to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and special moments, that is what makes my heart beat; that is what motivates me to keep getting up at 3’clock in the morning with this discipline to work with myself through reading and exercise and get involved with activities of the day because I see people and my mission is to help improve their lives,” Browne said.

“I don’t consider I will leave the groove at all because even when I am away, I will be maintaining the office operations,” Browne explained while noting that he has to thank his staff and supporters for their help.

“There are many persons out there rooting for me, defending me and working hard.

“I want one thing not to be lost on people. In the elections, 2309 persons voted for me and that is a significant number of persons and I keep them in focus and I keep in focus also persons who may not have voted for me for one reason or the other including because they are steeped in a particular tradition.

“I believe that these persons are going to see the kind of quality I bring to the table for them. I see progress in this regard.

“In a hard area like Roseau and beyond the cloud of what happened in the election, it must be noted that in Roseau we gained some ground. So we are chipping away and we continue the process of chipping away and it is just a matter of sewing good seeds to everybody.

“We sew good seeds and the time will come when we will reap a bountiful harvest,” Browne said.

“I just want to say to the people that I am committing myself to the long haul, to service in whatever capacity. Look out for me for as long as the Lord gives me health and strength, one thing can be guaranteed is that I will be working in the interest of the people,” Browne commented.

In relation to him shedding tears after the elections, Browne said the recording picked him up during an emotional moment.

“I was overwhelmed with emotions and it had nothing to do with the election results because you know I had been through several campaigns.

“But here we were the day after the elections where I would be home licking my wounds, so to speak, and just taking things easy being a little down and what not, and then I just heard some commotion up the road from where I live and when I came out, there was a large throng of supporters who came to look for me with the intention of helping to cheer me up.

“So in that moment when you didn’t win the election and so on and you’re thinking about the way forward and the future, these people came out for me in the moment when I was most down to say ‘hey look Luke you still have us’ and that was moving.

“I don’t think that I have really experienced anything quite like that. The moment when I was most down and when you might think that some people might be looking to abandon you now because the elections are done and dusted they came and said in a most powerful and eloquent way and they said ‘Luke we love you and we want you to continue with us’ and that just took me away, Browne said.

He added that he will be looking at ways to implement the 10 point plan he launched before elections as things like the upgrade of the pan yard, the hard court at Sion Hill and the clinic are already happening.

One of his major focuses is to eliminate outdoor bathrooms in the area and he has given his personal commitment to build a home for children who are less fortunate and may have lost parents.

“This is motivated by a deep knowledge and awareness of the constituency,” Browne said.