Monty Roberts speaking at the NDP convention on Sept. 29. (iWN photo)

Some 18 years after quitting electoral politics, former Member of Parliament for North Windward Monty Roberts says he is ready to run again for the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

Roberts represented the district for 12 years ending March 2001, when the NDP chose Ruth Woods as its candidate in an early election forced by political unrest.

The NDP lost North Windward and five other constituencies it held in the previous parliament and the seat has remained in the clutches of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) since then.

But Roberts, who has been hinting since last year his interest in returning to electoral politics, made his position clear last week on Sept. 29, at the NDP’s 41st convention rally in Arnos Vale.

 “After consideration and consultations and visits, discussions with individuals and groups, I am happy to say that I am in a state of readiness to take up the mantle again in North Windward to bring back some prosperity, unity, to the people of North Windward,” Roberts said, and declared that his party will win the next general election.

General elections are constitutionally due by March 2021 but are widely expected by the end of 2020.

And Roberts said he had his own assessment, which has clearly indicated to him that the NDP will win the next general elections.

“And I have good news for you. Among the winners, North Windward is going to be counted. We have a history of North Windward; it has never been in opposition in all the political history. And when we win the next general election, we will be in government again,” he said.

Roberts also said he is putting in an early bid to host the NDP’s next convention.

“I am returning the second time around and for our 42nd political convention, I am putting in a bid to have North Windward as the host constituency.”

He said that less than a year ago, the NDP wanted to have an agro-forum in North Windward and that the government did not allow the party to use any government building, forcing the NDP to hold the event in someone’s yard.

“Well I could say to them now with all assurance, that the next convention, we will be in office and they cannot stop us from using one of the buildings in the constituency.”

Roberts said he was pleased to see the turnout at Sunday’s rally.

“You have strengthened me, you have given me the zest and the drive and the determination to continue and that is exactly what I will do, along with a very strong team that I have in North Windward…

“I hope this convention will energise all of you to go back to your respective constituencies and continue the work that you have been doing to ensure that victory comes at the next general election.”

If Roberts gets the nod as the NDP’s candidate, he will be the second politician, in as many elections, to return from retirement to run again.

In 2015, after five years in retirement, Sir Louis Straker retained Central Leeward for the ULP, retaining the seat that Maxwell Charles of the ULP held for one term.

Straker had previously represented Central Leeward from 1998 to 2010.

The ULP’s Montgomery Daniel has been representing North Windward since March 2001, when the ULP defeated the NDP at the polls.

In that time, in addition to Woods, Daniel has defeated the NDP’s Cameron “Dinky” Balcombe, Elvis Daniel, and Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste.