As candidates of the New Democratic Party (NDP) today, Tuesday, prepare to be nominated in the upcoming General Elections, Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday, says he is confident that no members of his team will be disqualified from the political race.
Friday, a lawyer, rubbished claims that three NDP candidates — Chieftain Neptune, Dwight Fitzgerald Bramble and Bernard Wylie — will not be considered eligible to contest a seat in the Nov. 5 elections due to uncertainty about the length of time they stayed outside of SVG before Nomination Day.
The three candidates will be representing the North Central Windward, East Kingstown and Central Leeward constituencies.
Section 26 (1) of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Constitution, states that that “No person shall be qualified to be elected or appointed as a representative or senator if he is, by virtue of his own act under acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state”.
The same section of the Constitution states that candidates also must have lived in their home country for a specified time before Nomination Day.
Friday told party supporters in Marriaqua Monday night that all three men can and will be nominated to run.
“They want to say that these candidates have not been here long enough, that they had to be here 12 months before they are nominated, but the law says you can be domicile and resident of the country and qualify to be a representative. So Fitz and Bernard and Chieftain are all eligible to run as candidates in this election.”
“I myself in 2001, when I came from Canada to run just like Fitz, I came here on the 23rd of December and we had elections in March. I was here three months. I ran, I won and not a single soul raised any objection because they know that the law permits it. How you gon’ tell me that I born here, that I am not domicile here when I return home from a place where I went to work? It is nonsense.”
The three candidates in question all studied and worked abroad with Bramble returning to SVG in July.
Friday pointed out that the returning officer determines a candidate’s eligibility and when these candidates present themselves at the nomination centre, he is sure it will be a smooth and uneventful process.
“The law says that the returning officer gets to decide if somebody makes an objection. These [returning officers] are the three people who will decide if my candidates don’t get at the ballots tomorrow [October 20]. That will never happen! If you want to win the elections, come and meet me by the polls on November 5 th.”
Friday said he is not going to stand by and watch as efforts are made to sabotage the credibility of the NDP team.
“They say if Friday have a team of unbeatable men, what we going do is make sure that one of two of them can’t go in the wicket. So they send somebody to sabotage them but that ain’t gonna happen.”
“That is the talk and it getting me really upset because I know that they want to get into our head but we are prepared the grounds for winning this election free and fair.”
Thirty candidates from both political parties will be nominated as candidates today.
Nominations begin at 9 a.m. today.