On Friday, 15th April, 2011, Operation Rescue – which was founded by Astaphan – held a “Freedom March” protesting the rising cost of living, alleged corruption in the government and the alleged mismanagement of the country’s resources by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
Following the march – which began at West Independence Square Street, flowed through the streets of Basseterre and culminated at Bank Street with a rally – its organisers hailed it a success. However, Prime Minister Douglas hailed it a failure and testament of the people’s rejection of Astaphan.
The Communications Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM) issued a press release indicating that an anonymous “political pundit sees Friday’s failed march by former government minister Mr. Dwyer Astaphan as a first move to snatch the leadership of the opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) from attorney Lindsay Grant.”
The unnamed pundit is quoted as saying, “Dwyer has been a crafty politician and has observed very carefully over the past several months the failed leadership of Lindsay Grant and the scandal surrounding the Marriott Affair where he (Grant) was recorded negotiating in a corrupt way, the sale of government land to a potential developer if he had won the 2010 general election for a campaign contribution of US$1.7 million,” said the political pundit, who spoke on condition of anonymity…
“I am fortified in my view that is really an attempt by Mr. Astaphan to fill the vacuum that he recognises in a weakened opposition People’s Action Movement and it was clear for all to see that in the so-called march with 150 people, nearly all who were in the march were well known to be supporters of PAM,” said the political pundit…Dwyer has no credibility. He is not going to be accepted by the PAM hierarchy, especially since it is controlled by the real owners…The march really can best be described as a failed march by Mr. Astaphan to take over the leadership of PAM,”
Speaking exclusively with MiyVue.com, Astaphan described the article as a “lame attempt at propaganda”.
“Absolute nonsense and a lame attempt at propaganda clearly indicating desperation and high anxiety on the part of the departing Prime Minister’s propaganda outfit. Total nonsense! Total nonsense…trying to soften the blow that he received on Friday; not just from the march and the support of the march, but also from the total failure by the Prime Minister in his call for the people to come to town in red. Even his constituents who were being urged to do so, they were seen taking their buses on Friday going back home and not taking him on. They are being to read him. He is not helping them with their bills and all of the tribulations that he has put them into. So he obviously losing touch fast, his propaganda team is manifesting that and desperation and it will get even worse.
The former Parliamentary Representative for Constituency No. 2 reiterated what he has indicated in the past, that he has “absolutely no political aspirations. Whatever I am going and God spear life, whatever I will do in the future, I am doing as a citizen of this country, not as anybody aspiring to be, to lead or be part of any political organisation or government or anything. Total, total, unadulterated nonsense. If the Prime Minister’s propaganda team is capable of doing better it should do better.”