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I am constantly asked, “How is the politics? Who will win?” I boast not of being a political scientist but I’ll share my views here.
North Leeward — Before visiting the constituency to make my own assessment, I believed that the fresh blood of Carlos James (ULP) and his strong mobilisation team have passed the NDP. My conclusion though is that Roland “Patel” Matthews and the NDP have a strong hold on NL. Carlos is not to be underestimated. He will put up a good fight. For CW though, it will do him good to appear a bit more humble, especially for country people. Country people like to see and know someone from their bowels have achieved something in life but you must not return among them as if you are “better” than them or that you have “arrived”.
Central Leeward — It is obvious that the return of Sir Louis Straker places ULP in a stronger position to win that seat. Sir Louis continued to mingle, attend all the funerals even after leaving active politics. The people of CL who noticed know that his involvement wasn’t because of politics. Of course it takes more than that to win a seat but at least it gives him credibility. Ben Exeter (NDP) is an “unknown”. NDP’s chances of winning CL is dependent on how much work Hull (the former NDP candidate) does with Exeter.
South Leeward — Jomo Thomas (ULP) is applying very good political strategy. It will bear fruits. His strategy is not national canvassing as if he were running for a countrywide post. He is running for SL. He understands that that is where the work must be done first. (Too many of our politicians forget that even though national recognition helps, they must first be constituency representatives). Jomo is a strong contender against Nature. Nature is to ensure that he can keep his base and build support if he’s to keep that seat. Jerry Scott was a good representative, so his remaining capital will still be important for Nature in this upcoming elections.
West Kingstown — Mrs. Deborah Charles (ULP) is given the role as the “new” Girlyn Miguel — the chaplain; the good Christian lady. I await the outcome of that strategy. Daniel Cummings (NDP) has defied the “stoning of church” attacks and won his seat. True, Mrs. Charles is a stronger candidate than Michelle Fife. And even though Fife is a “pastor’s daughter”, Mrs. Charles has a more “Christian” appearance. I’ll be watching the “confrontational” campaign between these two camps.
Central Kingstown — Major Leacock (NDP) is a strong candidate. He just has to keep his people mobilised. The self-declared ‘General’ is the weakest link for ULP going into this general election. His approach after losing candidacy the last time, his reputable arrogance, and many burnt bridges are not good for him. As I type this, I honestly cannot remember his name but his reputation as stated above is notable. [Editor’s note: Beresford Phillips is the ULP’s candidate in Central Kingstown]
East Kingstown — The people of EK is faced with the possibility of becoming the “PM’s constituency” if NDP wins or just being a regular constituency. So it’s about keeping the bone or going after the shadow. We have seen that EK continues to hope that one day it will be the “PM’s constituency”. Luke Browne (ULP) must continue to persevere. If he keeps practicing a community spirit it will become natural. Right now, these things are done “just because”.
West St. George — I like, admire and appreciate Dr. Jules Ferdinand. He has what it takes to be a good national leader in politics, business or church. Nevertheless, he is not a typical politician. I expect him to use his strong business background to apply very good political strategy on the ground. Once he does, all the NDP has to do is make sure he has the resources to implement. I believe Cecil “Ces” McKie (ULP) has been a good representative in terms of addressing some constituency needs. Prior to winning his seat, Ces was seen as a potential national leader. Not necessarily PM material, but someone who has the potential. As minister though, he has not projected his ability to be a strong and potential leader. This will weigh a lot on the minds of a wide cross-section of his constituents; the many professional, reasoned and intellectual constituents from WSG. So it’s going to be Ces Vs Jules (Which is a better “Leader”?)
East St. George — Like East Kingstown, the people of ESG are faced with the possibility of becoming the PM’s constituency. (Whether we like it or not, Camillo Gonsalves is being positioned to become the PM after Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. This plan is dependent on if ULP wins the upcoming elections — this is for another piece). Camillo comes with great backing and in order for the succession plan to succeed, resources will not be spared. Dr. Linton Lewis, as senator, has done well for himself. By that I mean his contributions to the debates have been sound. He knows what he is about. I am not sure that it translates to more votes in his ESG. He still has to deal with his painted image of arrogance and that he is not to be trusted. He must continue to suppress whatever ambitions he has, embrace his leader more and eat some humble pie. I am not measuring his ability to win this seat on his past failures. We are supposed to de-mystify failure. It doesn’t mean because you failed at something you must walk away. Even in politics. Ask PM Gonsalves how many times he failed in his bid to become Parliamentary Representative for NCW. We have to create stories to help those to come.
Marriaqua — Unfortunately, Girlyn Miguel (ULP) has no political capital to transfer to Jimmy Prince (ULP). Prince must therefore fight hard to keep Marriaqua. Curtis Bowman (NDP) has made headways. Miguel has made Marriaqua a very low hanging fruit for NDP.
South Windward — Noel Dickson (NDP) may make some improvements in the polls. However, Frederick Stephenson (ULP) will retain this seat. Stephenson continues to be very involved.
South Central Windward — The constituents see becoming the PM’s constituency as a strong possibility. More than that though, Saboto Caesar (ULP) is strong in this constituency. He will win comfortably and with more votes this time too.
North Central Windward — ULP will win. It goes without saying. My biggest concern though in this constituency is South Rivers. This village has lost its reasoning ability when it comes to politics. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (ULP) is almost a “god” to these people. Finally, this constituency is not for “Labour” or any political party for that matter. This constituency is RALPH. Everybody knows that Ken Johnson (NDP) is my personal friend. I believe his greater value to NDP is on a macro scale. He is articulate, has very good research skills, super scientific, friendly and approachable.
North Windward — ULP is not as strong in this constituency as it was in the previous elections since 2001. Montgomery Daniel (ULP) neglects certain parts of the constituency after elections. This is one constituency where PM Gonsalves has to continually flex muscle and carry the weight in order to win it. This will have to happen again for the upcoming elections. Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste (NDP) comes with what appears to be a lot of baggage. What is important though is how he and the NDP react when the pressure of the campaign increases. How will he and/or the party respond?
Northern Grenadines — Herman Belmar (ULP) may gain a few more votes but it’s a clear win for NDP.
Southern Grenadines — Terrance Ollivierre (NDP) will win again with even more votes. The ULP should have replaced Edwin Snagg a long time ago. He should probably be given a constituency on the mainland because that’s where he seems to spend most of his time.
It’s too close to call.
ULP — NCW, SCW, SW: 3 sure seats
NDP — NG, SG, CK: 3 sure seats
Marginal seats leaning towards NDP- NL, WK, EK, Marriaqua: 4
Marginal Seats leaning towards ULP- CL, SL: 2
If ULP wins, it will keep the seats it currently has and possibly win South Leeward.
If NDP wins, it will keep its current seats and win Marriaqua and or North Windward
Of course I have just stated my opinion/ from my lenses. I will not argue them as facts.
(First published on Facebook. Republished with permission)
The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].