ST. VINCENT: With just a single majority in the 15 member Parliament, the Unity Labour Party will be ‘governing on a razor’s edge’ during its third term in office political activist Jomo Thomas said after the results were announce Monday night.
The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has improved its stakes in Parliament, wrestling from the ULP four of the seats it won in 2001 and 2005.
Preliminary results show that the ULP got 27,648 votes or 51.61 per cent of the popular votes while the NDP garnered 26,231 ballots or 47.78 per cent. The Green Party mustered 123 votes, a mere 0.21 per cent.
Jomo, who is also a political activist, was a panellist announcing and discussing the elections results last night.
“You are now governing on a razor’s edge,” he said of the ULP, adding, “Once it holds it ground and it can hold all its members, it may govern.”
Thomas, however, noted that there have been instances in SVG where legislators have crossed the floor.
However, lawyer Andrew Cumming, another panellist analysing the result, said it was unlike that a ULP legislator will make such a move.
“Eight-seven is a little close but it’s a victory. As Jomo says, one point, one margin, one seats, wins an election and that’s how it is,” Cummings further said.
“We may well be into a very interesting period to see what happens,” Thomas further commented, noting, “Any party will take a one seat majority.
“It’s politics on a knife’s edge, you never know what is going to happen but you want to go with what you’ve got. I know that the ULP has made a stand,” he said.
Thomas, however, said that the NDP ought to consider the outcome of the elections a moral victory.
“If you [had] three seats and you now have seven, then you are doing well. You are looking for eight seats to form the government. If you take the long view and you look down the road, they may say, ‘We can’t wait for 2015 to come’.”
He, however, noted that five years is “a long time in politics” and “a whole host of things can happen between now and then, adding, “but certainly the opposition will have some thinking to do.”
The election outcome, Cimmings said, “gives the opposition a platform to continue the fight”, adding that the increase in the number of seats “somewhat of an improvement…
“…incremental, marginal here and there but it is certainly a platform to continue the fight. In our democracy, we need that. Nothing is wrong with 8-7. We can still govern the country and we need not have internal warfare. We can manage, I would think,” Cummings further said.
Some 61.65 per cent of the 101,053 persons registered to vote cast ballots, compared to 63 per cent in 2005.
“For a combination of reasons, many of the real issues, the serious issues got jaunted off to the side and that may have turned off a lot of people,” Thomas said.
“People may have said ‘If you don’t want to talk about issue, then I can’t be induced to go out and vote for you’. To have 39 per cent of your electorate choosing not to go out and vote is till significant,” he said.
But NDP Vice president, St. Claire Leacock, who won the Central Kingstown seat, said on radio Monday night that the blame for the NDP’s loss was a shared one.
He said his party was too slow in responding to what the ULP dubbed an education revolution and the emotionally attachment citizens have to the international airport under construction at Argyle.
Leacock further said that the NDP, by increasing its mandate has been able to buy time, adding that had there been a 12 to 3 result again no one would have wanted to hear about the party for a long time.
He said the party needs to look for “fresh legs”, saying that such persons are around and that the party needs find them.