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St Kitts-Nevis voters deny Douglas historic fifth consecutive term



Peter Richards

St Kitts-Nevis voters denied Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas an opportunity of becoming the first regional leader to win five consecutive general elections and instead voted Team Unity, an amalgam of three opposition parties to form the next government in St. Kitts-Nevis.
While the Electoral Commission has not officially released the results of Monday’s poll, Douglas’s St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) appeared willing to concede the victory on Tuesday.

The outgoing Information Minister Nigel Carty said while the entire country is awaiting the results of the elections, the Supervisor of Elections, Wingrove George “does have a serious obligation to address the country on what is the country’s most critical event that is the election of members to the National Assembly.
“Therefore we want to say to the general public that we would really like for this matter to be over as quickly as possible. We are calling on the supervisor to do what is required to ensure that the results are announced as quickly as possible.”

Carty said “however we believe that based upon the information which is coming from the various constituencies …we believe from what is stacking up that the unity coalition may have won the elections and we want the country to be able to know what precisely are the results of the elections so we can move on”.
He said the SKNLP was calling upon George “to appear as quickly as possible to make the requisite announcement to the country so that the country can move on less this be seen as something that it is not meant to be,” said Carty, who is also the SKNLP deputy chairman.
The Electoral Commission is expected to issue a statement later on Tuesday.

But Team Unity led by economist Dr Timothy Harris, 51, a one-time senior cabinet minister in a Douglas administration, said it had won at least seven of the 11 seats that were at stake in Monday’s poll.
Team Unity comprises the main opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM), the People’s Labour Party (PLP) and the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) and Timothy said he was going to hold talks with Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence on Tuesday on a number of issues.
The 15-member National Assembly is made up of 11 elected members and four others, two of whom are government senators and one opposition senator. The attorney general is the ex-offico member of the legislative body.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) had entered the election in an accommodation with the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) telling the public it was the best party suited to continue the socio-economic development of the twin-island federation.
But Team Unity had urged supporters it was time for there to be “Prosperity for All” and accused the outgoing administration of nepotism, corruption and mismanagement of the economy.
The party had campaigned on the theme “Better Days are coming” and had urged its “family” of voters to ensure that they remove the incumbent from office.
As he addressed jubilant supporters from the balcony of the party’s headquarters, Timothy said the ”victory belonged to you the people.
“I promise we will treat everybody fairly and equally, black or white, male or female,” he said, adding “my family this is your victory…this is your moment of rejoicing”.
“What a wonderful sight it is to see the thousands of you..i want to thank you, thank you, thank you”.
Among the casualties of the election were deputy prime minister Dr. Assim Martin who lost to newcomer Ian Liburd and Sports Minister Glen Phillip who lost to former PAM leader Lindsay Grant.
Former deputy prime minister Sam Condor, the deputy leader of the PLP was also defeated in the election.
Prime Minister Douglas won emphatically in Constituency Six, as did Harris in Constituency Seven, while on Nevis, Premier Vance Amory, the CCM leader trounced the NRP’s candidate Cory Tyson by a margin of 754 to 306 votes.
Marcella Liburd, the health minister in the outgoing government won the first seat for the SKNLP polling 1,775 votes as against 1 643 for her challenger Jonel Powell of Team Unity.
The election was observed by teams from the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States (OAS) and CARICOM.
The victory for Team Unity culminates a series of wins that began last week when the London-based Privy Council, the island’s final court, ruled that the elections should be fought on the existing boundaries after the opposition legislators had been successful in getting it to reverse earlier court rulings that the procedures undertaken to ensure that the voting takes places on new boundaries had been followed.
Political analyst Peter Wickham said the situation unfolding following the closure of the polls “has essentially damaged “the reputation the outgoing prime minister as well as his legacy.
“ It’s unfortunate but I think it is a lesson to all leaders in the Caribbean that they need to come do their time and move on and they need to consider their legacy,” he added.
Wickham who is here said that he believes the population has accepted that the government has changed.
“There is clearly a majority of seats but we are still playing games with the officialdom. We are being told that the supervisor of elections feared for his life yesterday and as a result he could not continue.
“Now he is saying there are issues that have to be resolved in relations to people challenging the election results. But in the meantime, the people have accepted that the government has changed but it has been a most irregular election and this is the culmination of a series of irregular events.
“Certainly in my lifetime I have never known an election as irregular as this. From the dissolution of Parliament to the fact that the Supervisor of Elections declared two seats and stopped,” Wickham said, adding ““I have not seen it like this before and certainly we spoke to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit , who is now the OECS Chair, he indicated it was highly irregular for him as well .he has never seen it like this before”.

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