Three political parties will be contesting the polls that are slated for Monday 12th December, but the fight is really between the two traditional parties, CCM and NRP. The MRM, with only two candidates, is a remote outsider at best.
The candidates in Nevis 1, Charlestown are Spencer Brand of CCM, the incumbent, challenged by Jaedee Caines, a first-time candidate of the NRP. This is a seat that has been mostly held by the NRP, but has shifted on two occasions to CCM – the last time in 2017 when Spencer Brand defeated the then incumbent Robelto Hector by a 1% margin. That election was almost a dead heat: CCM received 50% of the votes cast to the 49% of NRP.
Since then, data from the federal elections shows CCM separating itself from the NRP. In 2020, 54% of the votes went to CCM and 45% went to NRP. Then, again in 2022, CCM’s share of that vote was 55% and 43% went to NRP.
Based on the trend, the Observer projects that this seat is too close to call. The outcome of this contest will depend on which party is able to bring home more of overseas voters, meaning nationals living abroad that are registered to vote.
Nevis 2 turned blue in 1992 when Malcolm Guishard, defeated the then Premier Dr Simeon Daniel. The passing of Guishard in 2007 ushered in Mark Brantley who has held on to the seat with increasing margins in each election. In 2017, Brantley won, 57% to 43%.
Again, during the 2020 federal elections, CCM held that part of the constituency by receiving 61% of the votes validly cast. Then, in August 2022, 56% was for CCM and 41% was for NRP.
This trend suggests that Mark Brantley of CCM will be returned on 12th December over Dr Patricia Bartlette.
Gingerland, Nevis 3, is considered a safe seat for the CCM, and it is unlikely that the NRP candidate will overcome the CCM advantage. For an NRP win, challenger Rohan Isles will need to overcome a deficit of over 500 votes.
There have been 231 new voters registered in Nevis 3; even assuming that all of them vote NRP, that alone will not impact the end result. In fact, the intervening federal elections of 2020 and 2022 give some insight into the mindset of Gingerlanders. In the 2020 elections, 81% of the votes was for CCM and in 2022, CCM received 73% of the votes cast.
Our prediction for Nevis 3: Eric Evelyn of CCM will defeat Rohan Isles of NRP.
In Nevis 4, Alexis Jeffers is the incumbent with a 26% advantage gained in 2017, 833 to 528 votes. It is a seat that was “inherited” from CCM’s Jean Nisbett-Harris. That advantage was maintained in the 2020 federal election with a 25% separation, but was eroded to 15% in 2022.
Notwithstanding, the Observer predicts another win for CCM in Nevis 4. Alexis Jeffers over Dr Janice Daniel-Hodge.
Finally, in Nevis 5, Cleone Stapleton-Simmonds of NRP is the incumbent. She won that seat in a by-election following the resignation of Joseph Parry (of NRP) who had held that seat with a 38% margin. Stapleton-Simmonds defended that seat with a 35% margin of victory. Clearly this makes the seat a safe seat for the NRP
But, for federal elections 2020, CCM had reduced that separation to 9%. NRP regained some ground in 2022, increasing the separation to 12%, a sufficient cushion with which to win.
We contend, however, that in this seat, the incumbent has been made vulnerable by her rejection as party leader, despite the fact that she is the only parliamentarian amongst her team. Added to this, the CCM is fielding a very plausible candidate, Latoya Jones, who, coming from a strong NRP family, will most likely pull support away from the NRP base.
The Observer predicts that Stapleton-Simmons will be returned, but that CCM will put up a good fight and that this seat will be closer than ever before. This will be a competitive contest.
Overall, CCM 3, NRP 1, and 1 too close to call .