February 16 Is Election Day In St. Kitts-Nevis by LK Hewlett Douglas-rings-the-bell
Voters in St. Kitts-Nevis will go to the polls on February 16, with nomination day being Feb 6th. The announcement came by way of a press release from the Prime Minister’s office on Tuesday (Jan 27). The news came as a surprise since just two hours prior, PM Denzil Douglas took to national TV/radio and announced that he had obtained election writs from the Governor General and would announce the election date later that evening. Dr. Douglas’ announcement that the election date had been approved by the Governor General was predicated by Justice Marlene Carter’s decision to strike out the Opposition’s boundary change injunction. The communique came while Opposition lawyer SC Douglas Mendes was making a case for an injunction against the Supervisor of Election and Electoral Commission restraining them from acting on the boundary re-alignment proclamation and carrying out the election on new boundaries. The House was dissolved on January 16. At a public meeting in West Basseterre Tuesday night, the symbolic ringing of the bell by the Prime Minister to signal the announcement of an election date was somewhat anti-climactic, since the press release earlier that afternoon had eliminated all suspense. The electorate will choose its new government from among two major ‘parties’- the incumbent St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party/NRP, and a unified opposition Team Unity. Team Unity comprises the People’s Labour Party (PLP), People’s Action Movement (PAM) and Nevis’ Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM). The other Nevis party, the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), has joined forces with the SKN Labour Party. There are 8 constituencies in St. Kitts and 3 on Nevis for federal elections. In constituency #1 the candidates are Dr. Asim Martin (SKNLP), and Ian “Patches” Liburd (PAM); in constituency #2- Marcella Liburd (SKNLP) and Jonel Powell (PAM); in #3- Sam Condor (PLP) and Konris Maynard (SKNLP); in #4- Glenn Phillip (SKNLP) and Lindsay Grant (PAM); in #5- Shawn Richards (PAM) and Dr. Norgen Wilson (SKNLP); in #6- Dr. Denzil Douglas (SKNLP) and Vernon Connor (PAM); in #7- Dr. Timothy Harris (PLP) and Dr. Vance Gilbert (SKNLP); and in #8- Eugene Hamilton (PAM) and Dr. Terrence Drew (SKNLP). In Nevis 9, the candidates are Mark Brantley (CCM) and Robelto Hector; in Nevis 10- Vance Amory (CCM) and Corey Tyson (NRP); and in Nevis 11- Patrice Nisbett (NRP) and Alexis Jeffers (CCM). In the January 25, 2010 elections, the Labour party was elected for a fourth consecutive term with 6 seats in St. Kitts. In 2013 then Labour Ministers Dr. Harris and Condor crossed the floor to join the opposition, forming the PLP. On Nevis, CCM won 2 seats and NRP one. The symbol on ballots for the SKNLP is the hand and the party color is red, for PAM the symbol is a hat and party color is yellow/gold, PLP’s symbol is the saw and the party color is orange, CCM’s symbol is the hammer and party color is blue, NRP’s symbol is a bottle and party color is green. The incumbent party has added three new candidates to its roster, PAM 3, and NRP 1. Election campaigning has begun in earnest with public political meetings being held every other day. Both sides have drawn huge crowds of supporters to their public meetings being held throughout the island. The Labour Party has already held one campaign concert with regional artistes, and rumors abound that at least one other major concert will be held before polling day. Billboards, posters and other party signage began being erected several months ago. Team Unity Leader Dr. Harris told The Observer billboards and concerts do not win elections and so the Opposition would be concentrating on reaching the people personally. The Labour Party is out front with the biggest and most billboards and posters.