No date yet for St Vincent elections
Kingstown – Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says he has not given “any real thought to the altered targets for elections”, amid concerns that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may have changed his plans for announcing a date for the general elections later this year.
General elections are constitutionally due by March 2021, but Gonsalves has said in the past that voters will be given the opportunity of electing a new government ahead of the three-month grace period allowed for in the Constitution.
The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP), which came to power in 2001 and the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) have been staging political events prior to March 11, when the island recorded its first case of COVID-19 that subsequently led to the country, like other Caribbean islands, imposing measures to curb the spread of the virus for which there is no cure or vaccine.
Gonsalves, asked how he felt the pandemic might affect the timing of the elections, replied “it has often been said that one week is a long time in politics. And I haven’t given any real thought to the altered targets for elections”.
But he disclosed that he had held discussions with Opposition Leader, Dr Godwin Friday and had drafted a letter to the Governor General regarding the appointment of the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
“Because, we have, under the Constitution, if there’s a new census, we have to have the commission meet for a determination,” Gonsalves said, noting that the last report from the EBC is in excess of eight years.
Gonsalves said that he did not believe “that given the circumstances, that any of the major political parties is interested in increasing the number of seats”.
“As to when elections are going to be held, your guess is as good as mine,” Gonsalves said.
In the last general election, the ULP won by an eight to seven margin and the NDP has since gone to court challenging the outcome in two of the constituencies. (CMC)