Drew leads St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party to victory
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – Seven years after being booted out of office, the main opposition St Kitts Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) is heading back into the corridors of power winning six of the 11 contested seats on the twin island Federation.
Preliminary figures released by the Supervisor of Elections, Elvin Bailey, more than 17 hours after the official close of polling on Friday night, showed that Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris was the lone successful candidate for his People’s Labour Party (PLP), so too, Shawn Richards of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) while Mark Brantley’s Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) won all three seats in Nevis as it had done in the June 2020 general election.
The three parties had formed the coalition Team Unity administration that Harris led before he was forced to call the early poll three years ahead of the constitutional deadline after his Cabinet colleagues filed a motion of no confidence in him.
Harris averted the debate by dissolving the Parliament and calling for general election on August 5.
“So far based on the results I have heard in St Kitts it appears that the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has won a majority of the seats and so I say congratulations to Dr Terrence Drew and the rest of his team,” said Richards in a broadcast on Saturday.
“To that party I say the voters have spoken….ultimately you have a responsibility to all of the voters in St Kitts-Nevis and as such you must look out for all of the people,” said Richards, who was elected for a fifth consecutive time as the parliamentary representative for St. Christopher Constituency Number 5.
The SKNLP, led by the Cuban trained medical practitioner, Dr Terrence Drew, who will become the Federation’s fourth prime minister, had campaigned on the need to liberate the country from the clutches of the coalition Team Unity government.
Drew polled the highest number of votes in the election, receiving 2 950, while Chesley Hamilton of the PAM got 895 and the PLP’s Andrew Bass 761.
“It is an amazing outcome for the party,” said regional political analyst and pollster, Peter Wickham, recalling the defeat the party had suffered in the last two general elections.
Political strategist Hartley Henry blamed the coalition for what he described as “an unnecessary election” adding that the results were “a rejection of an administration that had become disconnected from the people”.
Both Wickham and Henry said they did not expect the PLP and Harris for that matter to have any influence in the political future of the Federation, hinting also that the defeat may also signal the end of Harris’ political career that has spanned more than 25 years.
Among the victorious SKNLP candidates is former prime minister Dr Denzil Douglas, who before the 2015 general election, had been among the longest serving leaders in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
During the campaign Douglas dismissed suggestions of a rift within the hierarchy of the then opposition SKNLP, insisting that he is supportive 100 per cent of Drew, who took over the leadership of the party last year when Douglas stepped down after 33 years and 20 years as prime minister.
Douglas polled 1 926 votes as compared with 98 for PAM’s Troy Flanders, 309 for Dr Marc Williams of the PLP and three votes for Carlton Dupont.
For his part, Harris received 1 266 votes as against 176 for PAM’s Lincoln David-Pelle and 903 for the SKNLP’s Leon Natta-Nelson.
There are 11 seats at stake in the 15 member Parliament with the Governor General nominating the other four seats. (CMC)