ST. VINCENT: – With just three days left before the official nomination of candidates for the Dec. 13 general elections, the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) is yet to address questions regarding who will be its candidate to come up against Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.
Reports indicate that nurse Margaret London, who on Nov. 13 delivered her maiden speech as the NDP’s candidate for North Central Windward, will not contest the seat, suggesting that the party will change its candidate for a third time.
NDP public relations officer Vynnette Frederick did not comment on the issue when I Witness-News contacted her last Thursday, Nov. 18.
However, the party’s general secretary, Allan Cruickshank, told Searchlight newspaper last week that London’s candidacy was being “re-evaluated”.
A source close to the NDP told I Witness-News late last week that the party would soon issue a statement about London’s candidacy. That statement did not come last weekend as the NDP moved it campaign rallies to the Southern Grenadines.
London’s candidacy was being reassessed amidst report that she is ineligible to contest the polls because she allegedly has a criminal record.
According to Electoral and Constitutional law in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) any person serving a term of imprisonment or a sentence substituted for a term of imprisonment of one year or more shall be barred from being a Representative or Senator.
The NDP’s silence on the issues comes even as the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) claws into the development, saying that the NDP’s inability to decide on a candidate to run against Gonsalves reflects its inability to govern the country.
“They’re not serious people. It’s the first time that I ever seeing in any election that in the week of nomination they don’t know who’s running against the leader of the other party. This thing is really – it’s a comedy show them fellas running,” Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told party supporters at a campaign rally in Frenches Monday night.
“…she is the David and I am the Goliath but the David aint even reach the battlefield yet,” he said of London, adding, “I never see a David like that. She aint got a slingshot”.
Gonsalves said he was informed that the NDP was considering running one Kenroy Johnson.
“I don’t think they make up their minds yet. I am the man who asked them if they could consider to make him headmaster because he was teacher for a while. But, the truth is that the Ministry [of Education] moved him out when the school was not performing well – Georgetown Secondary. I had nothing to do with that,” Gonsalves said.
He further said he had a geography lesson for the potential candidate.
“…when they meet him tomorrow morning, I want them to ask him where is the village of Dondo Hole in my constituency. Where is Cane Hole? Where is Questelles Piece? Where is Long Bubby Stone? You hear me? Where is Fourteen? If you don’t know the geography, how [are] you coming to battle? The first thing you have to do when you coming to battle is know the geography,” Gonsalves said.
“If you want to say you put somebody up against me, it’s alright but at least the man must have an understanding of the geography of the constituency,” he added.
The NDP has earlier this year identified Cameron Balcombe as the candidate for North Central Windward but he resigned in September amidst protest against his candidacy by party supporters in the constituency.