Easton Taylor-Farrell, the newly elected premier of Monsterrat. (GP)
BRADES, Montserrat – Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell was sworn into office on Tuesday, a few hours after leading his Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) into reversing its 2014 electoral defeat and winning Monday’s general election.
“It is a bitter sweet celebration, now that we have come home, in the MCAP camp we are celebrating. I must admit I would have preferred to have a bit larger majority, that’s not the case but we will work with what we have for the benefit of this country,” he said, indicating that his cabinet would be made known later this week.
Taylor-Farrell, who took over the leadership of the party after then premier Reuben Meade lost the 2014 general election to the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), said the time has now come to heal the nation and he would also be placing much emphasis on the youth of the island.
He said he wanted to thank all those who participated in the elections as well the new voters and the other parties “for running a competitive campaign even though there were disagreements with many of their policies, principles and tactics”.
Last week, Taylor-Farrell and the MCAP chairman, Austin Howe, filed a defamation lawsuit against a media house.
Outgoing premier, Donaldson Romeo, who had been ousted as the PDM leader mere weeks before the election, was the only successful independent candidate in the election, according to preliminary results.
The MCAP won five of the nine seats in the Legislative Assembly, while the PDM headed by the outgoing Communications, Works, Energy and Labour Minister, Paul Lewis, won three seats.
MCAP’s Crenston Buffonge led all of the 35 candidates in the election, receiving 1 378 votes, ahead of Lewis 1 251 and Taylor-Farrell 1 149 votes, in the island’s post-volcano single-constituency, nine votes-per-person system. Romeo received 1 060, the fourth highest number of votes counted.
According to the Electoral Office, the voter turnout was 62 per cent with 2 411 of the 3858 registered voters casting ballots
Among the casualties of the election was the former speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Shirley Osborne. She was one of two children of the late former premier John Osborne, who were contesting the election. She received 253 votes, but her brother David Osborne, was successful as a candidate for the PNM, receiving 947 votes.
The head of the International Election Mission, Jamaican Julian Robinson, told the media that the team visited all of the eight polling stations and that the process was smooth and the staff very well trained. Robinson called it one of the smoothest elections he had ever seen and that the team will present its preliminary findings on the election observation on Wednesday.
Political observers said the Taylor-Farrell is taking over at a time when the British Overseas Territory (BOT) is preparing for its annual budgetary discussions with the British development aid agency, DFID and an upcoming UN Decolonisation Mission in December. (CMC)