ULP surprised by reduction in votes – Camillo
FIGHTING THE 2020 General Elections was difficult and included challenges like COVID-19 and other major issues.
“The campaign was very different, it was an abbreviated campaign but we are, I believe, the first and only government in the Caribbean post-independence to win five consecutive elections,” the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) Camillo Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT on Thursday night.
The ULP has made history by forming government for a fifth consecutive time, winning nine of the 15 parliamentary seats, although losing the popular vote.
Speaking from his base in Calliaqua after he learnt he had won, Gonsalves, who beat the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Laverne Gibson-Velox, a first time candidate who gave him a run for his money, said the ULP campaigned on accelerating economic transformation and they have a lot of projects that are in their early stages and are anticipated to create thousands of jobs.
“We believe that in five years, the St Vincent and the Grenadines that we see will be radically transformed for the better, so we are thankful for the mandate,” Gonsalves said while thanking voters for giving the ULP an increased majority in the House of Assembly.
“We are very happy about that and we think it is all about the acceleration of the transformation and we are grateful to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines for the continued confidence in the Unity Labour Party and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves,” said Gonsalves who takes up his second term as parliamentary representative for East St George.
Gonsalves said that despite the ULP going for an unprecedented fifth term, going into the elections they were massively confident.
“As you know you heard we were expecting more seats and that wasn’t just political boasting; we were expecting more seats, but this election we learned now from the results was not an election against the NDP, it was an election against apathy, it was an election against people who just thought that maybe we had been there too long.
“So as the results came in, we saw that the vote totals were reduced and so it gave us pause. We expected to win more
seats, but as the Prime Minister always says a win is a win and we have increased the number of seats which is a tremendous achievement in a fifth term in office,” Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT.
He noted that in East St George, they have a significantly reduced majority and after the celebrations they will analyze the reasons.
“We know going into the election from our own analysis that we were going to be about 75 votes below where we normally are because of the fact that a number of retirees in the Villa and Brighton area who normally vote labour and we code as labour were stranded overseas because of COVID or decided not to travel because of COVID.
“So we knew our numbers would be reduced, but the extent of the reduction has surprised us and it will cause us some further analysis,” Gonsalves stated.
He also used the opportunity to congratulate his political opponent for what he considers a spirited campaign. “But most of all I want to extend sincere gratitude to the people of East St George for renewing their faith and confidence in the Unity Labour Party,” Gonsalves said while adding that initial tallies show that he won the seat by 186 votes. He received 2,845 votes to Gibson-Velox’s 2659.
In 2015, the NDP’s Linton Lewis received 2528 votes while Gonsalves got 3135.