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Labour’s record as majority party in SVG

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Tue, Dec 11, 2012

Editor: I am amused by the partisan commentators of the anti-labour ilk who seek to portray the Labour Party (SVG Labour Party and its successor, the Unity Labour Party) as unnatural interlopers in office. The facts actually show that over the 55 years since the two-party system solidified in 1957, Labour has been the champion majoritarian party.{{more}}

Since 1957 there have been 14 general elections. The People’s Political Party (PPP) of Ebenezer Joshua garnered the majority of the popular vote in two general elections (1957 and 1961); the New Democratic party of James Mitchell did so in three general elections (1984, 1989, and 1994); and the Labour Party won the majority of the popular vote in nine general elections (1966, 1967, 1972, 1974, 1979, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2010). In other words, Labour won the majority of the votes in 64 percent of the elections between 1957 and 2010. Though Labour won the popular mandate in 1966, 1972, and 1998, the peculiarities of the first-past-the-post electoral system prevented it from forming the government.

Let us look further at the facts after St Vincent and the Grenadines attained internal self-government (Statehood) in October 1969 and tabulate the years when Labour has been in office. Of the 43 years since internal self-government (October 1979 to December 2012), the Labour Party has been in government for over 24 years (October 1969 to 1972; 1974 to 1984; 2001 – December 2012 and continuing). The non-Labour parties (PPP-Mitchell Junta 1972 – 74; NDP July 1984 to March 2001) served the other 18 _ years. In other words, the Labour Party has been in government for 56 percent of the years between self-government and now. By the end of this current five-year term, the percentage of time served by Labour in government would rise to almost 59 percent.

Surely, on the basis of these numbers, the Labour Party has become the natural party of governance in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This condition is likely to be confirmed when it wins a fourth consecutive term in 2015.

Always, let us seek truth from facts!

Hans M. King

Press Secretary

To the Prime Minister

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