Former Chief Minister Hubert Hughes and his Anguilla United Movement (AUM) were swept into power for at least the next five years in the general election held on Feb. 15 in the British Overseas Territory. The AUM won four of the seven seats in the National Parliament, winning the right to form the new government, which was sworn in on Feb. 17 By Governor Alistair Harrison. At the ceremony, Hughes announced Edison Baird as Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Social Development, Walcott Richardson as Minister of Home Affairs, including Labour, Lands and Immigration, and Evan Gumbs as Minister of Infrastructure and Communications. Hughes will be the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, in addition to his duties as Chief Minister. Haydn Hughes was sworn in as First Nominated Member and later as Parliamentary Secretary. He will assist the Chief Minister in Tourism. For the first time in the history of elections in Anguilla, there were local election observers — mainly from the Anguilla Christian Council and the Anguilla Evangelical Association. Preliminary reports indicate that the election process was incident-free. Another first was the use of indelible ink in the election, which was purchased from St. Kitts and Nevis. The move was made to strengthen the balloting system and to limit the possibility of persons voting twice. In a statement released By the Office of the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Leroy Benjamin, said he was extremely happy to provide the ink to the Anguilla electoral authorities. “Like us here in St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla wants to prevent double voting. We had some ink left and we were very happy to provide assistance in ensuring free and fair elections,” he said. In the Anguillan elections, two of the remaining three seats went to the Anguilla United Front (AUF) led By former Finance Minister Victor Banks and the other seat to the fairly new Anguilla Progressive Party. Of the 20 nominated candidates, the loss By Banks to tyre repair shop owner Evan Gumbs was perhaps the biggest surprise. Gumbs defeated Banks By a relatively large margin of 788 to 677 in their head-to-head match up. Banks had succeeded the retiring Chief Minister Osbourne Fleming as the head of the AUF. New Chief Minister Hughes, who had previously served in that capacity for a five-year term from 1994 – 2000, indicated that the local economy will be the first order of business for his government. Creating jobs for Anguillans is a top priority, as expressed By Hughes in a radio interview. In the vote count, Hughes snared 507 votes compared to 352 for Curtis Richardson of the AUF and 257 for Brent Davis, leader of the Anguilla Progressive Party (APP). In the identical three-way contest five years ago, Hughes picked up 420, Davis 241 and Richardson 224. Political newcomer and community activist Othlyn Vanterpool won a five-member race for the Island Harbour seat. Vanterpool held off a challenge from pre-election favorite Terry Harrigan (Independent), Kennedy Hodge (Independent), Pam Webster (APP), and Cora Richardson-Hodge (AUF). Vanterpool received 383 votes, Harrigan 236, Webster 245 and Hodge 45. Former Health Minister Edison “Eddie” Baird defeated AUF first-timer Delsic Rey and Fabian Lewis of the APP By polling 488 votes compared to Rey’s 236 and Lewis’ 37.Jerome Roberts (APP) won a tight race with Cora Richardson-Hodge (AUF) in District #2 (Sandy Hill), pulling in 317 votes while Richardson-Hodge received 276. In a very competitive race, Sutcliffe Hodge (Independent) lost to ex-Education Minister Evans McNeil Rogers By a vote count of 654 to 679. Voter turnout in District #3 was over 80 percent. AUM winners included former educator Walcott Richardson from the West End district who defeated Kenswick Richardson (AUF) and Wilmoth Hodge (APP). A little over 8,000 persons were eligible to vote in the general election. The 20 candidates were five less than the total from 2005 when 11 newcomers were in contention. In the 2010 race, eight new candidates entered the political ring. Anguilla is an internally self-governing British Overseas Territory. Its politics takes place within a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic dependency, in which the Chief Minister is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. The United Nations Committee on Decolonisation lists Anguilla on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. The Territory’s is governed By Anguilla Constitutional Order 1 April 1982 (amended 1990). Executive power is exercised By the elected government, while legislative power is vested in both the government and the House of Assembly. The Judiciary functions independently of the executive and the legislature.
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