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PM visits East Kingstown as phase one of walkabouts commences


Phase one of a series of walkabouts which Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves intends to have leading up to the next general elections took place yesterday.{{more}}

Gonsalves, the political leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP), spent part of yesterday morning in the constituency of East Kingstown with ULP hopeful Luke Browne.

The ULP political leader said on these walkabouts, he will meet the people and talk to them about issues, solving individual problems and listening to ideas that they have about doing things in their immediate community.

In an interview with Gonsalves yesterday, SEARCHLIGHT described East Kingstown as a “stronghold” of the NDP, a description with which Gonsalves disagreed.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a stronghold; they won the elections,” he said with a chuckle.

The Prime Minister conceded that the NDP has held the East Kingstown seat for “a long time,” but maintained that the victory by Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace in the elections of December 2010, by a margin of 467 votes over first timer Luke Browne, was “not an overwhelming victory.”

“I think the ULP has very strong support in East Kingstown and I am confident that Eustace will lose his seat (in 2015),” Gonsalves said.

He said during his walkabout, he visted the areas of Quarry, a small Spiritual Baptist church, Sion Hill Bay, Roseau, Plan, Walvaroo, Dorsetshire Hill and the pan yard at Sion Hill and was well received.

“…I met people who I know who have historically been NDP supporters and, of course, I met a number of people who are ULP supporters. I found the reception very warm, very positive. It was a good event for the ULP and for Luke.”

Eustace has been the parliamentary representative for East Kingstown since 1998 and during this time has kept off three different contenders from the ULP.

Luke Browne first contested the seat in 2010 after Senator Julian Francis failed to take the seat for the ULP in 2005. Prior to that, in 1998 and 2001, the late Michael Hamlett carried the banner for the ULP. He too was defeated by Eustace.

The next general elections are constitutionally due by December 2015, but may be held as late as March 2016.