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Election Watch – Part 3

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OF THE NINE SEATS already analyzed, Elections Watch has so far called five seats for the ULP and four seats for the NDP. Part three will complete the analysis, again utilizing, logic, the numbers and historical trends.

Anyone who tells you that in every election, each candidate starts at zero is either uninformed or disingenuous; ask Saboto Ceasar heading into Grieggs, or Mineva Glasgow heading into Campden Park, or any NDP candidate going into North Central Windward. The fact is, the results of the immediate past elections cannot be ignored since they are strategic reference points that are either built upon or eroded.

In the 2015, East St George election, ULP newcomer Camillo Gonsalves grew a 283-vote margin to 607, winning 55 per cent of the votes cast with the most significant gains seen in the fast-growing Brighton area. This trend does not augur well for NDP newcomer Laverne Gibson-Velox, who is charged not only with reversing the trend away from the NDP, but also with the improbable task of overhauling a 600 vote margin. Gibson’s relative inexperience and lesser national profile compared to both her predecessor and her opponent, will in all probability land this seat in the ULP column. Expect Camillo Gonsalves to be returned with an increased margin.

Although the Marriaqua constituency has been associated with much pre-election drama by the NDP, the task of anyone overhauling ULP’s St. Clair Jimmy Prince’s 756-vote margin can be considered practically insurmountable and even more improbable when, according to the records, the NDP candidate Bernard Wyllie was rejected by that constituency over 20 years ago. In his first outing in 2015, ULP’s Prince achieved the second-best election returns after his party leader and even increased the margin of victory in every polling division with the exception of Carriere. The trends clearly indicate an easy win once again for Jimmy Prince by at least the same margin.

Central Kingstown is one of just two constituencies that bucked the trend of the NDP consistently losing margins in the 2015 elections. The incumbent, NDP’s St Claire Leacock easily emerged as the most successful NDP candidate retaining his seat by a margin of 516 votes up from 382 in 2010. ULP’s newcomer Dominic Sutherland will do well just to reverse the ULP slippage, especially in Largo Height and Paul Over and across the constituency in general. Leacock’s national profile and track record of advocacy for his constituency will

see him easily returned as the winner for a third term.

The South Windward constituency went in 2015 for ULP’s Frederick Stephenson who defeated NDP’s Noel Dickson by 759 votes. This represented only a slight reduction from his 786-vote margin in 2010. The NDP will hope that Dickson will at least be able to make inroads in some polling divisions while the ULP will be banking on the significant projects completed in this constituency since the last election and the promise of jobs and development to maintain the relatively wide margin. Based solely on history and the recent trends, Stephenson will maintain this seat even if with a reduced margin.

The West St George constituency will interestingly host two newcomers in this November 5th election, with the NDP’s Kay Bacchus-Baptiste coming up against the ULP’s Curtis King. King will be seeking to defend a 578-vote margin gained by his successor while Bacchus-Baptiste will be seeking to at least reverse the trend away from her party. While both candidates are well known locally and on the national stage, Bacchus-Baptiste is very unlikely to wrest the seat away from the ULP column, especially away from a well-grounded Belair resident. Expect Curtis King to win this seat and to hold the margins inherited.

The East Kingstown seat can be considered one of the more pivotal seats in this election. Since its new demarcation 31 years ago, the seat has never left the column of the NDP with the closest brush coming in 2001 when the ULP’s Michael Hamlett came within 40 votes. This time around, ULP’s Luke Browne will be making a third attempt at winning this seat and will do so with the momentum of having closed a 467-vote margin to just 149 in the 2015 election against the then incumbent and former NDP party leader.

Also this time around, the NDP is sending forth newcomer Fitzgerald Bramble who has a national profile, and is seeking to defend an inherited vote margin that has been trending away from his party. While logic tells us that Bramble should not be as formidable as his former NDP party leader, the NDP will be hoping that the 149 vote margin would provide him with enough of a cushion for them to retain this seat. Based on data and voting trends this seat can be considered too close to call.