Nationals and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis will head to the polls on Monday January 25th to elect an administration to govern the Federation for the next five years. The months leading up to the election have been fraught with political struggle and electoral anxiety as numerous court cases waged to determine some of the most critical aspects of the electoral constitution. St. Kitts will see its two leading parties contesting Monday’s election, the incumbent St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party and the People’s Action Movement. The United National Empowerment Party will not be contesting this year’s elections. On Nevis, the Nevis Reformation Party will contest against the Concerned Citizens’ movement for the 3 federal seats on the island. In the October 2004 elections, the Dr. Denzil Douglas-led Labour emerged victorious with 7 of the 8 seats on St. Kitts with PAM winning the constituency #5 seat and CCM captured 2 of the 3 Nevis seats. Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas rang the bell on January 7th to announce that Nomination Day would be on January 15th and election of the 25th. All parties went into campaign over-drive, hosting nightly public political meetings, motorcades, whistle stops and rallies. As the election date approached allegations of corruption, fraud and moral infractions surfaced against candidates of both PAM and Labour as each party pointed fingers. Labour’s campaign theme this election year is “Progress not Promises” telling the electorate to re-elect the party for a fourth term while PAM asserts it is “Prepared to Serve, Ready to Govern” and advocates change. The nominated candidates for the SKNLP are Hon. Asim Martin- constituency #1; new comer Marcella Liburd- constituency #2; Hon. Sam Condor- constituency #3; newcomer Glenn “Ghost” Phillip-constituency #4; newcomer Dr. Norgen Wilson- constituency #5; leader Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas-constituency #6, Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris- constituency #7 and Hon. Cedric Liburd- constituency #8. The nominated members of the PAM opposition party are Glenroy Blanchette- constituency #1; Roy Fleming- constituency #2; Bernard Welsh- constituency #3; leader Lindsay Grant- constituency #4; Hon. Shawn Richards- constituency #5; newcomer Junie Hodge- constituency #6; newcomer Louis Williams- constituency #7; and Eugene Hamilton- constituency #8. CCM nominated candidates are Hon. Mark Brantley- constituency #9; Hon. Vance Amory -constituency #10; and Alexis Jeffers -constituency #11. NRP nominated candidates are Hon. Hensley Daniel- constituency #9; Patricia Patsy Hanley- constituency#10; and Hon. Patrice Nesbitt- constituency #11. According to the latest figures released By Supervisor of Elections Leroy Benjamin Sr., 32808 persons are registered to vote in federal elections, 25256 on St. Kitts and 7552 on Nevis. The total number of voters is more than 6000 less than the 38865 registered to vote in the 2004 elections. The polls across the islands open at 6 am Monday and close at 6 p.m. and voters are encouraged to turn up early to cast their votes and to take along their National ID cards. The various election offences have been announced via local media as have voting instructions. Independent election observer missions from the Commonwealth, OAS and Caricom arrived on the island and will oversee the voting process to ensure free and fair elections. By Monday evening, the electorate will know which party would have won the elections and therefore form the next government to run the affairs of St. Kitts and Nevis for the next approximately 5 years.
To the polls on Monday! By Sheena Brooks
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