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Mitchell fails to secure fourth term in Grenada

Mitchell fails to secure fourth term in Grenada


Grenada’s New National Party (NNP) led by former Prime Minister Keith Mitchell was unable to break the jinx that has brought the defeat of some longstanding governments across the region during this millennium.

On Wednesday, July 8, 2008, 63-year-old Tillman Thomas, a University of the West Indies trained lawyer and leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP) defeated Dr. Mitchell’s (NNP) that had held power for 13 years, by an 11-4 margin. {{more}}

Mitchell, the 62-year-old Howard University-trained Mathematician, led his ruling New National Party (NNP) into the general elections with the hope of securing an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in office.

Mitchell, who has led the NNP since 1989, entered Parliament in 1984 as Minister of Communications, Works and Public Utilities before being elevated to the post of Prime Minister on June 22, 1995.

His reputation had taken a beating after a 2004 article in a Miami-based publication claimed the Prime Minister had received money for granting a diplomatic posting to German businessman Eric Resteiner. He, however, consistently denied that he had done anything illegal and often noted that he had been vindicated by a 83-page report submitted by prominent Barbadian jurist Sir Richard Cheltenham after seven months of public hearings.

The defeat of longstanding political parties at the polls started as early as March 6, 2000, when Osbourne Fleming’s ruling Anguilla United Front Party (AUFP) defeated Hubert Hughes, Anguilla United Party (AUP). The AUP had been in power since March 16, 1994.

Then came the defeat of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in St.Vincent and the Grenadines on March 28, 2001.The Ralph Gonsalves led Unity Labour Party (ULP) won the Arnhim Eustace led NDP which had held power since mid-1984, when James Mitchell defeated the Robert Milton Cato led St.Vincent Labour Party administration.

On March 23, 2004, the Baldwin Spencer United Progressive Party, which he had led as the opposition party for several years, won the parliamentary elections in Antigua taking 55.3 per cent of popular votes and 12 out of 17 seats. His party defeated the Antigua Labour Party which had long been led by Lester Bird.

In the St.Lucia general elections held on December 11, 2006, the United Workers Party (UWP) led by the late John Compton defeated the Kenny Anthony led St.Lucia Labour Party. Compton’s success was short lived as he passed away on Friday, September 7, 2007. He died at the private Tapion Hospital in Castries.

Hubert Ingraham of the Bahamas, Free National Movement (FNM) defeated the Perry Christie’s Progressive Liberal Party on May 2, 2007, winning 23 seats.

Four months later the Bruce Golding-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) eked out its first general election win in 18 years when it defeated the People’s national Party on September 3, 2007. At the end of the preliminary count, the JLP had won at least 31 seats to the Portia Simpson’s People’s National Party’s (PNP) 29, in the closest of the country’s 15 general elections since Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944. The count now stands at seven wins for the JLP and eight for the PNP.

And earlier this year, the Said Musa’s People’s United Party (PUP) lost to the United Democratic Party (UDP). After ten years in opposition, the Dean Barrow’s UDP won the February 7, 2008 election with 25 out of 31 seats.