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Eustace strengthens hold

Eustace strengthens hold

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Arnhim Eustace, leader of the Opposition under the last parliament, and representative for East Kingstown has strengthened his hold on that constituency.

In Wednesday’s elections, he increased his lead to over 100 votes ahead of ULP challenger, Julian Francis.

It was the battleground as far the Unity Labour Party was concerned. For having lost the constituency by 27 votes in 1998 and 40 in 2001, there was the suspicion that East Kingstown was theirs for the taking. In the June 15, 1998 poll, 5,552 voters were registered to vote in East Kingstown. {{more}}

Arnhim Eustace, in his first outing at the polls, secured 1682 votes, with the then opposition Unity Labour Party represented by Michael Hamlett, scoring 1655.

It could not have been much closer. Eustace’s victory helped the New Democratic Party to an eight/seven victory.

He served as Finance Minister under Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell. Eustace was elevated to the position of party leader in August 2000, and to Prime Minister October 27, 2000.

Eustace held on the constituency March 28, 2001, increasing his tally to 2,088 votes. His challenger, the ULP’s Michael Hamlett tallied 2048.

6,318 voters were registered for the 2001 poll, and there were 4150 ballots cast with 14 rejected.

Eustace was the only successful NDP candidate on mainland, and with the ULP winning the other 12, it was a clear and decisive victory.

His Grenadines colleagues joined Eustace in the House: Dr Godwin Friday, Northern, and Terrance Ollivierre, Southern.

This time around, Eustace faced another opponent. ULP General Secretary Julian Francis was appointed Senator following the ULP’s victory, and he served as Transport Works and Housing Minister until January 2005.

This year, 7,083 voters were on the list in East Kingstown. With a change in the constituency boundary, some voters from the Dorsetshire Hill area who had been previously transferred to West St. George, were returned to East Kingstown. That area is decidedly a ULP stronghold, so from the start, Francis must have considered himself having a head start.

Despite not being able to wrest the reins of power from the ULP, the NDP must be pleased with Eustace’s showing. His victory must have been won on the ground and robbed the ULP of a ‘clean sweep’ on the mainland.

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