Newcomer King takes West St George seat
GOING INTO THE 2020 General Elections as Unity Labour Party (ULP) candidate for West St George, Curtis King faced serious challenges, mainly the state of the roads and unemployment.
However, he told SEARCHLIGHT on Thursday night, minutes after he had won the constituency ahead of the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, that he had no doubt he would win as he was running, “in a fairly comfortable ULP constituency.”
Speaking from his constituency office in Arnos Vale, King said the challenges were there.
“It is true that I had some challenges to face in terms of the fact that, one, the government was seeking an unprecedented fifth term and it was not going to be easy, and secondly there were quite a lot of our supporters who were disgruntled.
“I did a lot of house to house, but I must apologize to some members of the constituency, but given my late start, I was not able to cover every area.
“The three common issues that I was confronted with was the whole issue of roads, secondly, people complain of not getting materials, and the third issue was that of employment opportunities because you would recognize that when the elections were called we were basically in the COVID period and by that time our economy was facing some serious challenges,” King said.
He added that before the elections, he read a report by an international body that said St Vincent and the Grenadines’s (SVG) unemployment rate, before COVID-19, was 18 per cent.
“But by the time we were struck with the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment had risen and as such it was an issue. So with these challenges, I expected that we might not have performed as good as we had done the last time,” King said.
The 2015 elections saw the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Jules Ferdinand getting 2104 votes and the ULP’s Cecil McKie receiving 2682.
The educator said that initial results say he won by 357 votes.
“If you look at the figures, there is only roughly a 78 vote difference so I would say that for a new comer I would have done very well and I make the point all the time that I am have been working in this West St George community for all my life,” King said.
The first time political candidate says he feels elated and he is glad that the challenges he faced did not hinder him from being successful.
“This has been a triumph at the personal level as well as at the national level in the sense that I am transitioning from being a serious educator for over 37 years,” King said while noting that he also brought to the table, his voluntary contribution to the development of the community.
“Now I am moving to the level of Parliament where I will continue to represent the people at a higher level. So it is both a personal and national achievement to me. “This is in many respects an achievement and a fulfillment also of a goal that I had set myself after I was encouraged by so many persons,” King commented.
He added, “I want to single out three men of the cloth. Pastor Wilson, Pastor Clarke of Layou and Pastor Ferdinand. Why I single out these three is because they have always been saying to me from time immemorial that I have it within me to represent the country at a higher level.”
King also thanked the constituency council, the youth arm, the women’s arm, “the strategic community and the group of women who helped with canvassing.”
“We know that some challenges are ahead of us and I give my commitment to working hard,” he said while adding that after the dust has settled, the ULP team will sit down to discuss what issues in the community will be targeted first.