Elections Watch – part 1 of 3
With less than two weeks to go to the November 5th, 2020, General Elections, there is no better time to reflect on the immediate past elections and to critique the political parties and their candidates and the respective the issues and plans for the future.
Interestingly, there has so far been little or no debate on the “irregularities” of the last elections with both major parties preoccupied with billboards and meetings and claiming to be in the ascendency. There is no debate on plastic versus wooden ballot boxes, or the plastic seals or the ballot paper and its layout and perforations. There is no concern about the sanitizing of the electoral list or the special registration period or the tried and tested election-day oversight by representative of both parties. In fact, the lack of debate on these issues gives a tacit level of satisfaction by the major political parties with the planned processes and level of preparedness of the Electoral Office.
Elections Watch will over the ten days provide a head to head analysis of the major party candidates including the trends from the previous two elections and will also highlight some the main issues at hand and the likely outcomes.
The North Windward constituency will see a classic matchup of contrasts in gender, age and experience, with the new and inexperienced Shevern John of the NDP seeking to reverse the increased margin gained by the ULP’s incumbent Montgomery Daniel in the 2015 election. The NDP will also be hopeful that the prospect of John’s ‘freshness’ will work in their favor and prevent what would be a fifth consecutive victory for Daniel and the ULP. Daniel will however counter by claiming that his modest achievements in improved housing, roads, bridges and water supply are all enough to save the day for him and the ULP. However, because of the improbability of a first-time candidate overcoming a 323-vote margin, it would be safe to expect a win for the ULP’s Daniel, even if voter fatigue results in a reduced margin.
North Central Windward is expected to hand the incumbent and ULP leader Ralph Gonsalves his seventh consecutive victory in that constituency. Another first-timer, NDP’s Chieftain Neptune is not expected to significantly impact Gonsalves’ consistent trend of gaining an impressive 79.6 percent of the votes cast in that constituency.
South Central Windward will see another NDP newcomer, Israel Bruce trying to overcome a formidable 588 vote deficit in unseating the ULP’s youthful incumbent Saboto Caesar and in the process, prevent a third consecutive term for Caesar. Caesar boasts a consistent 56.5% of votes cast in 2015, up from 56% in 2010 and was hailed by most as the hardest working government minister, with some significant achievements in Agriculture and vibrancy in the constituency. With Caesar expected to prevail, Bruce’s steady but unspectacular tenure as an opposition senator could still see him make some inroads into reducing his deficit, especially if Caesar and the ULP are unable to make inroads into the NDP’s seemingly impregnable Greggs stronghold.
Elections Watch will continue the candidate and constituency analysis in the next two editions of SEARCHLIGHT.