The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) on Saturday elected a new constituency council in South Leeward during an election in which the sole nomination by caretaker Jomo Thomas was not seconded by any of the 30-plus or so persons present.
Neva Cordice defeated David Williams 22 votes to nine to become chair of the council in which women filled all of the elected positions during the meeting at the Questelles Learning Resource Centre.
Denise Harold was appointed vice-chair, having been the only nominee to the post, after Thomas failed to get anyone to second his nomination of Noel Douglas.
Douglas, however, made it on to the council, having been nominated as one of 10 committee members.
Thedica Jones was appointed secretary, unopposed, Elvina Abraham filled the treasurer’s position and Ann Jones because public relations officer via the same route.
The other committee members are Sita Francis, David Williams, Noel Douglas, Janice Edwards, Ella Phillips, Henny Charles, Ithamar Charles, Juette Ashton, Jennifer Charles, Josann Pompey.
Assistant General-Secretary of the ULP, Audrey Gittens-Gilkes presided over the election.
When ULP general secretary, Sen. Julian Francis, a South Leeward constituent, nominated Dubois resident Henny Charles to the council, persons asked if he was at the meeting.
Francis suggested that there was no better person to represent Dubois on the council and Thomas said Charles was working and that might be why he wasn’t at the meeting.
During the election, Francis also created some entertainment when he nominated journalist Kenton Chance to the council.
Chance, a South Leeward resident, made light of Francis’ nomination until Francis later asked the chair if Chance was declining the nomination.
“Of course I am declining,” Chance said.
Francis went on to say that Chance could sit on the council, adding that any constituent who is a supporter of the Unity Labour Party could do so.
Chance did not comment but Earl Sylvester “Teddy” Edwards told the senator to take the proceedings seriously.
Speaking ahead of the election, Thomas, who was the ULP candidate in South Leeward in the December 2015 general elections, told the meeting that he hopes they elect an executive of persons who are committed and know that they have the time to lend to the work of the ULP in South Leeward.
He said that by February 2016, the party had come to the conclusion that the executive was functioning so poorly that it instructed the then secretary to write to Francis asking that the executive have a truncated mandate.
However, that did not happen.
In the 2015 vote, Thomas a first time candidate, failed in his attempt to unseat the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP)’s Nigel “Nature” Stephenson, who secured a second consecutive term in office.
Thomas told Saturday’s meeting that he hopes that whenever the next elections are called, whoever that candidate would be, would get the support of the party.
Sources tell iWitness News that there is an orchestrated effort within the ULP to replace Thomas as the party’s candidate and that the ULP’s radio station is being used in this regard.
Meanwhile, before presiding over the elections, Gittens-Gilkes told the meeting that they are all working towards the same goal.
“And I do not think that there should ever be a time when we do not, in a constructive manner, support our caretaker, our candidate, our parliamentary representative.”
She said that everyone is entitled to varying beliefs.
“But keep in mind what I said. The goal is the same and as it pertains to the Unity Labour Party in South Leeward, we are all working toward keeping the Unity Labour Party in office; continuing the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, continue to support our Unity Labour Party administration with all its policies, plans and programmes,” Gittens-Gilkes said.
She appealed to constituents to continue to support Thomas until they decide who their candidate would be.
“I implore you to show support, solidarity, stand behind your caretaker, comrade Jomo.”
And, the new chair of the council thanked the meeting for expressing confidence in her.
“This is nothing new to any of us actually sitting here,” Cordice said, adding that the members of the council have all served in some capacity.
“I want to assure you that we understand the task that is before us and that we are committed to serving South leeward and the Unity Labour Party. We are promising you that we will do our best to try to have the constituency united and definitely, we would be giving Jomo our support as the caretaker of South Leeward,” Cordice said.
She told the meeting that having elected the council to ensure that they support it and to respond whenever called upon to assist,” Collis told the meeting.