ST. JOHN’S, Antigua & Barbuda — The Governor-General of Antigua & Barbuda, Her Excellency Dame Louise Lake-Tack, will demit office as representative Head of State on August 13, 2014, government sources confirm.
She will be replaced by Dr. Rodney Williams, a medical doctor and former parliamentary representative, who will take his oath of office on August 14 to become the island’s fourth Governor-General.
It is understood that Dame Louise’s exit from office comes after weeks of Government-led talks with Buckingham Palace to make a case for her replacement. An official government communique did not indicate that the outgoing Governor-General had resigned.
History of political acrimony: Dame Louise was appointed as the first female Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda in 2007, under the former Baldwin Spencer-led United Progressive Party (UPP) government. Her swearing-in ceremony was boycotted by then-opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) legislators, on the grounds that Dame Louise was too deeply political to serve as Head of State. The ALP contended that Dame Louise was a confessed campaign contributor to the UPP, and that she frequently appeared on the party’s political platform in previous general elections.
During her tenure Dame Louise and the ALP were often at odds, most notably in 2010 when the then-Opposition Leader – and former Prime Minister – Lester Bird protested her decision to suspend members of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC). Dame Louise’s decision at that time was based on a complaint levelled against three ABEC members by then-Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer for alleged breaches of electoral law.
Bird also protested Dame Louise’s refusal to grant national awards to his nominees, once threatening to write to Queen Elizabeth II, Antigua’s de jure Head of State, in protest. Later, in 2013, Dame Louise also refused to grant knighthood to Lester Bird, following the recommendation of ALP leader Gaston Browne, who now serves as Prime Minister.
More recently, reports also indicated that Dame Louise refused to swear-in Lester Bird as a member of parliament from outside the confines of her official residence, while Bird was still hospitalised shortly after the ALP’s election victory in July 2014.
Governor-General designate, Dr. Rodney Williams, will deliver his Throne Speech on August 13, 2014.