KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The two opposition senators here were voted off the executive of the New Democratic Party (NDP) at the party’s convention on Sunday.
Anesia Baptiste, shadow minister for gender and family issues, saw her rise through the echelons of the NDP dealt a severe blow in her failed bid to become party chair.
Delegates re-elected Dr. Linton Lewis, the NDP’s custodian for East St. George, who has been rejected three times at the polls, to continue as the party’s chair.
Baptise, who hopes to become this country’s first female prime minister, was far from taking the position as she also had to contend with Daniel Cummings, Member of Parliament for West Kingstown, who garnered 119 votes, 15 fewer than Lewis.
Baptiste, who joined the NDP in 2009 and was elected assistant secretary general last year, only muster 19. Further, Doris McIntosh replaced Baptiste as assistant secretary general.
The trouncing came just days after the NDP’s West St. George Constituency Division elected Baptiste as their candidate for the next general election, constitutionally due in 2015.
Meanwhile, Ernesto Cooke, who last year wanted to be the ruling Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) candidates in South Leeward for the December 2010 general elections, toppled Vynnette Frederick 171 votes to 100 to take over as public relations officer of the NDP.
Cooke failed in his bid to become the ULP candidate and began appearing on the NDP platform ahead of the elections, which the ULP won, eight seats to the NDP’s seven, for a third term in office.
Cooke, a former employee of WE FM, recently began hosting regularly the NDP’s daily “New Times” programme on Nice Radio, filling in for regular host Eduardo “E.G.” Lynch, who is said to have had surgery to his eyes.
Former minister under the NDP Allan Cruickshank was returned unopposed as the party’s general secretary while vice-presidents St Clair Leacock and Dr. Godwin Friday, MPs for Central Kingstown and the Northern Grenadines, respectively, were also returned unopposed.
Bernard Mills was returned unopposed as treasurer. The four committee members are Maurice Horne, Jimmy Pierre, Bert Francois, and Amos Cruickshank.
The trustees are John Horne, Jerry Scott and Marcus De Freitas, all former ministers of government under the NDP.
Party president, Arnhim Eustace, whose position was not due for election, is expected to appoint three members for the central committee.
The NDP, the oldest party here, was founded in 1975, by former prime minister Sir James Mitchell, who was absent, without explanation, from the convention on Sunday.
The party was elected to office in 1984 and held the reins of government until March 2001, when it was unseated by the ULP. In 1989, it won all 15 of the parliamentary seats, the only party ever to do so.
Note: An earlier headline on this story said Baptiste and Frederick were voted off the “central committee”, which is incorrect. We have since made the correction.