Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vincentians give ruling party a third term

by Kenton X. Chance

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- The Unity Labour Party (ULP) led by Dr Ralph Gonsalves, 64, won 8 of the 15 seats at stake in Monday’s general elections in St Vincent and the Grenadines and was returned to office for a historic third consecutive term for a labour government.

The party resisted a tough challenge from the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), which increased its representation in Parliament by winning four seats more than the three it did in the 2001 and 2005 elections.

Dr Ralph Gonsalves and his Unity Labour Party have been returned to office for a third consecutive term
The ULP bucked the trend in the Caribbean, where historically ruling parties have lost general elections after failing in a referendum.

It has also given pundits much to think about, having won the election without taking any of the Kingstown seats.

The victory has given Gonsalves the opportunity he said he needed to groom a new generation of ULP leaders and to consolidate some of his party’s policies, including completing the international airport at Argyle.

The elections might have also sealed the fate of NDP leader Arnhim Eustace, who, at 65, has led his party to a third consecutive defeat.

The ULP held on to the eastern corridor of mainland St Vincent, while the NDP won the three Kingstown seats, two of the three Leeward seats on the western side of the St Vincent and the two Grenadines seats.

Neither Gonsalves or Eustace or any of their spokespersons were immediately available for comment after the preliminary results were announced.

However, NDP vice president, St Caire Leacock, who won the Central Kingstown seat, said on radio that the blame for the loss was a shared one.

He said his party was too slow in responding to what the ULP dubbed an education revolution and the emotional attachment citizens have to the international airport under construction at Argyle.

Leacock further said that the NDP, by increasing its mandate, has been able to buy time, adding that, had there been a 12 to 3 result again, no one would have wanted to hear about the party for a long time.

He said the party needs to look for “fresh legs”, saying that such persons are around but the party needs only to find them. (Caribbean News Now)