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St. Lucians await results

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St. Lucians await results

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CASTRIES, ST Lucia, CMC – St. Lucians were awaiting the results of the general election after casting their ballots during an 11 and a half hour period on an overcast Monday.
Prime Minister Stephenson King, who is hoping to become only the second person to lead the incumbent United Workers Party (UWP) to victory in a general election, is predicting a 14-3 sweep, while his main challenger for the post, Opposition Leader Dr. Kenny Anthony, remained “cautious” about the outcome.
Chief Elections Officer Carson Raggie told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that generally, polling day had been uneventful despite rumours that at least one candidate of the main opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) had been arrested for breaking electoral rules.
He said that in some instances, the names of some voters had not been on the official voters List, but that the Electoral Department had rectified the situation by issuing the relevant documents to the presiding officers.
He said what the situation showed was that the public had not adhered to the call for them to scrutinise the list before the general election.
“But overall we had just the usual cases of people not knowing where to vote etc,” he added.
The polls, the ninth since the island attained its political independence from Britain in 1979, had been contested by 52 candidates representing four political parties and two independent candidates including Jeannie Compton, the daughter of the late Sir John Compton, the founder of the UWP, who is contesting the Micoud North seat, which her father held for more than three decades.
King told CMC that he is confident that the government which he inherited after the death of Sir John in 2007 had done enough to win a second consecutive term.
“We have been predicting all along throughout the campaign and that prediction has not changed, a 14-3 is likely and if we get anything more we will accept it but you in government I believe you need opposition and therefore I will not predict a 17 zero as some people may have predicted.
“I think a 14-3 is likely,” he told CMC, after casting his ballot at the La Clery Government School in the heart of his Castries North constituency.
King said that while he would be disappointed if the party did not gain the 14-3 victory “the will of the people is the will of God and I go by that basic principle”.
For his part, Anthony, who is seeking to regain the prime ministerial position he lost in 2006, said there is a “quiet determination among people but at the same time I think they are going through a very interesting period.
“I would be very cautious in making any judgement and I simply hope they do the right thing, but obviously I can’t go any further than that,” Anthony told reporters.
Both King and Anthony are expected to win their seats comfortably, with the prime minister expected to shrug off the challenge from Ubaldus Raymond, the SLP’s candidate and Veronica Guard of the National Development Movement (NDP) for the Castries North seat.
Anthony has been the parliamentary representative for the Vieux Fort south constituency and is expected to easily retain it, despite the challenge from Karl Wilfred Daniel.
Heavy rains over the past few days gave way to a hazy sunshine and overcast conditions and many voters were lining up to cast their ballots way ahead of the schedule opening time of 6.30 am (local time).
The first round of results is expected by 10. 00 pm (local time).
In the last general election, the UWP won 11 of the 17 seats, with the SLP holding on to the remainder.