The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) is courting another beauty queen for a possible candidacy in West Kingstown for the next general elections, constitutionally due in December 2015.
Political leader of the ULP, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, has confirmed that Miss Carival 1987, Roxanne A. Israel, is among persons he has spoken to regarding a possible candidacy in West Kingstown.
Engineer Daniel Cummings of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) is MP for West Kingstown, having defeated Miss SVG 2001, lawyer Michelle Fife in every polling station in that constituency in the 2010 general elections.
Speaking to reporters during the luncheon interval of Thursday’s meeting of Parliament, Gonsalves confirmed that he had had discussions with Israel, who won the Miss Carival pageant in 1987.
“There are persons names which have come forward, and I have been in touch with the various persons,” he told reporters when asked about ULP candidates during the luncheon suspension of Parliament on Thursday.
“I don’t want to talk about the names yet, because, in one particular case, it might be premature to speak,” he said.
Asked if Israel was among those persons, Gonsalves said, “I have seen it in the public domain and I have spoken to Roxanne. Roxanne, she is my friend of many years.”
But when asked if Israel is interested in contesting the seat, the Prime Minister said, “I am saying to you, she is a good human being with lots of good qualities” and broke out in his characteristic raucous laughter.
A ULP insider told I-Witness News on Monday that the names of Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Colin John and a female teacher from Lowmans Leeward have also been mentioned as possible candidates.
Meanwhile, Gonsalves said that while the formalities have not been completed, baring any unforeseen development, lawyers Jomo Thomas and Carlos will be the ULP’s candidates for South and North Leeward respectively.
“I see it in the news that Carlos James has been selected as the ULP’s candidate for North Leeward. That is not a correct statement, because he hasn’t gone through the processes, though, clearly, barring something else, everybody knows that Carlos and Jerrol [Thompson] were in the mix. There may well be somebody else who would come in the mix,” he said.
Thompson, a physician and former MP for North Leeward, lost to the New Democratic Party’s Roland Matthews, a former teacher in the 2010 general elections.
Gonsalves said that Thompson, who had been canvassing to remain the ULP’s candidate, has told him that he is no longer interested in contesting.
The ULP will soon activate its candidate selection committees in South and North Leeward, Gonsalves said.
“We are expediting, and, believe you me, it would be done in a process that — our metaphorical horses in all the races will be in good form, and so will our party,” he said.
Star FM, the ULP’s Radio station, announced last week, and our sources told us, that Thomas, James along with Beresford Phillips, have been selected as candidates for the ULP in South and North Leeward, respectively, and Central Kingstown.
“The process hasn’t started in Central Kingstown. … A number of persons have interest in constituencies and I will speak to all of the persons who have interest,” Gonsalves, however, said.
Gonsalves said that three names have surfaced in Marriaqua, where Deputy Prime Minister Girlyn Miguel, who has been representing the constituency since 1998, has said she will bow out at the end of this term.
“It has been a long run with her and she has done an excellent job and she has a number of interests in the church, in the community and family. Not everybody is burdened with the political obligation to the extent that I am burdened or blessed,” he told reporters.
Gonsalves said that he understands that retiring Director of the Agency for Public Information, St. Clair Jimmy Prince, accountant Kirk Da Silva, and economist/teacher Godson Cain are interested in becoming the candidate for Marriaqua.
“But, here it is, we have a surfeit of riches and I am quite sure that after they have gone around that Sister Girlyn will have a conversation with the relevant people,” he said.
Gonsalves further said that his son, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sen. Camillo Gonsalves is interested in running in East St. George, where the current representative, Minister of Health Clayton Burgin will not contend the next general election.
“Clayton has been there since 2001, has done a very good job. And Camillo, through his interaction with people in the consistency, has responded to request and have evinced an interest, but he would have to be subject to the same process, like everybody else.”
The ULP, which came to office in 2001, is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office.
“The slate is shaping up in a manner where you are going to have a good team, mixing experience with freshness,” Gonsalves said.
“When you put them fellas on my side (the opposition), … what they have, a set of tired people, and those who came on new,” he said of the NDP, which announced its slate of candidate more than a year ago.
Gonsalves in February told party supporters to get “on your marks”, and in March, at the party’s election anniversary celebration, said he was serious in that comment, and that he would give the opposition a short rope.
Asked if voters can expect to hear “set” or “go” before the end of this year, the Prime Minister again broke out in his characteristic raucous laughter, but did not comment.