By Peter Richards
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Feb 17, CMC — Supervisor of Elections, Wingrove George broke his silence on Tuesday and named Team Unity, an amalgam of three opposition parties, as the winner of Monday’s general election.
But while George said that Team Unity had won seven of the 11 seats contested in the general election, he gave no figures, saying that they would be provided later Tuesday night.
The other four seats were won by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) and the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) that had formed an accommodation to contest the polls in which outgoing prime minister, Denzil Douglas was seeking to become the first regional politician to win five consecutive general elections.
In his brief radio broadcast, George defended the decision not to make public earlier Tuesday, the result of the polls, apologising to the nation “for the length of time this might have taken, but we have to remember that sometimes to be sure we have to take our time.
“The writ issued by the Governor General to the Returning Officers they have up until the 18th [February] to give me the final decision.
“So even though it might be long, it is not unlawful, it is not illegal and they would not go wrong in taking their time to do what they have to do.
“Like I said this morning, there were certain processes to go through, we had challenges, we had reviews, and it would have been very unprofessional of me, as Supervisor of Elections, to go and make announcements while the whole process will be revisited because if anything was to take a different turn I would have had to be updating and retracting statements.”
George said he believed making the statement when he did “was the opportune time and the relevant time to say what is the final decision and for those who might be suggesting that I am using delaying tactics there is nothing to delay about the fact.
“It is just to make sure the information reported is really the fact and to do it hastily would and could ensure you are not reporting the facts,” he said.
Team Unity, led by the 51-year-old economist Timothy Harris, is composed of the main opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM), the recently formed People’s Labour Party (PLP) and the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM).
Apart from Harris, the other Team Unity successful candidates are Premier Vance Amory of Nevis, Shawn Richards, Eugene Hamilton, Ian Patrick Liburd, Lindsay Grant and Mark Brantley, who served as Opposition Leader in the last Parliament.
The SKNLP/NRP winners included Douglas, former health minister Marcella Liburd, Conrad Maynard, and Patrice Nisbett.
Among the casualties of the election were Deputy Prime Minister Assim Martin who lost to newcomer Liburd and Sports Minister Glen Phillip who lost to Grant, the former PAM leader.
Former deputy prime minister Sam Condor, the deputy leader of the PLP was also defeated in the election, losing to Maynard.
George insisted that his “delay” in announcing the results “was just to make sure that when I make the announcement I will be saying something that will not be corrected later.
“What I have just said there will be no need for correction,” he said, adding that his job after the Returning Officer had presented their report will be to submit it to Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence.
“Then everything will be out of my hands, the spotlight will be off me, thank goodness,” he said, reiterating that “this long delay had nothing to do with what people in the public might be thinking.
“It had everything with me wanting to have it right”.
Outgoing PM thanks nation
Meanwhile, outgoing Prime Minister Douglas on Tuesday said he would forever cherish the opportunity given to lead St. Kitts and Nevis and wished the new government well following Monday’s general election.
In extending “sincere congratulations” to the new government, Douglas said he was also extending “sincere and enduring gratitude” to his party “for the sacred honour that you bestowed on our party, by permitting us to manage the affairs of our blessed nation for the past 20 years.
“To the friends and members of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, you have my undying gratitude. We, in St. Kitts and Nevis, are among the blessed of the earth. And we are among the blessed of the earth because our governments are chosen, not by force, not by decree, not by the whim of any force or interest, but by the will of the people.”
He said he hoped citizens would “never, ever forget how truly blessed this makes us,” acknowledging that the campaign for re-election had been “a long and hard” one.
“And what the impassioned, but peaceful — always peaceful –public meetings, rallies, and jousting said to the world, time and again, was that ours is a vibrant and mature democracy, and that Kittitians and Nevisians, a politically mature and responsible people.
“I shall forever cherish having been given the opportunity to lead the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. And for this most precious of opportunities, I once again thank you,” he said, telling citizens ‘the elections are now over, and although we still await the announcement of the preliminary results, I wish our newly elected Government well,” Douglas said.