The main opposition New Democratic Party’s candidate for West St. George, Julian “Jules” Ferdinand says he anticipates that elections will be called this year and, therefore, because of his work schedule, he does not want to be considered as his party’s candidate this time around.
“Like many Vincentians, I anticipate that the ULP Administration will call for general elections before the end of the year. I am confident that they will not want the general public to be exposed to a lot of the evidence that will be revealed as the legal matter with the Central Leeward Constituency heads into court in the next few months,” Ferdinand told iWitness News via email.
“My lecture schedule at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, UWI, Trinidad and Tobago, will be rather hectic from September. As a result of this, I will be off island for a significant period of the time leading up to this anticipated ‘snap election’. I, therefore, considered it to be in the best interest of the New Democratic Party if I stepped aside at this time,” Ferdinand said.
He said stepping aside will allow the NDP to select a replacement candidate “who could commence the process of getting familiar with the constituency and its people before the election.
“In addition, such an individual should be physically available whenever the election is called,” Ferdinand told iWitness News.
The NDP says that it believes that the Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party, which is 18 months into a fourth consecutive term in office, will call an early election, ahead of the March 2021 constitutional deadline.
They hinge this belief on the two petitions that the party has filed challenging the results of the 2015 election in North Windward and Central Leeward.
The ULP won the elections by taking eight of the 15 parliamentary seats, while the remaining seven went to the NDP.
The NDP has accused the ULP of stealing the elections, and the opposition party has secured major victories so far in the court, which is expected to hear in September an application to inspect the election documents, including the ballot boxes.
Ferdinand, who holds a doctorate in business administration, was appointed a senator for the NDP after the 2010 election.
As a first-time candidate, he lost to the ULP Cecil “Ces” McKie, who secured a second consecutive term in office.
In his email, Ferdinand told iWitness News: “I love the people of our blessed land and I am especially appreciative of all of the people in West St. George. My interest will not wane in these areas. I am also strongly committed to the New Democratic Party and have indicated that I will continue to support its efforts and the activities of the new candidate (whoever that person will be).”
He said the party is going through the process of selecting the replacement candidate as laid out in its constitution.
“It is anticipated that the replacement candidate will be selected before Sept. 1. As indicated earlier, that person will have my full support,” Ferdinand.
Prominent lawyer, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste has told iWitness News that she has been asked to be the NDP’s candidate in the district.
She told iWitness News last week that she would make a decision in “a week or two”.