By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 5, 2020: Voters in the Caribbean island federation of Saint Kitts & Nevis will go to the polls today to elect a new government for the next five years.
The incumbent Team Unity government is facing a strong challenge from the Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), led by former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Llewellyn, M.D.
Dr. Douglas has said his party is ready to lead the country in the COVID-19 era as it faces new challenges including of higher unemployment rates and the need for a diversified economy. And he already has plans to build the long-awaited bridge between St. Kitts and Nevis which he said will create “thousands of jobs.”
He has also said he wants to ensure SKN diversifies its agricultural industry as nationals must be able to feed themselves while also being able to sell the produce.
Meanwhile on Nevis, six candidates will contest the general elections including three on the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) ticket and three on the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) ticket.
St. Kitts and Nevis is the second country to hold elections in the pandemic. It will also be observed by CARICOM observers but observers from the OAS (Organization of American States) were denied entry as the Timothy Harris administration cited COVID-19 restraictions.
The administration cancelled the observer mission, saying that the personnel would have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine (despite being tested negative), which would surpass the time until polling day. The OAS has indicated regret that “a practical solution was not put in place like it was the case in Suriname” to allow its observers, and further stating that the process will be monitored from afar.
Former Attorney General, Jason Hamilton, the opposition’s choice of Commissioner, has claimed on WINN FM that there has been interference by govenrment in the work of the Electoral Commission and the office of the Supervisor of Elections.
Hamilton was quoted as saying he is worried that the level of interference occurring would erode the independence of the Commission. They include the matter of selection of Returning Officers for election day, late publishing of the election Voters List, the late publication of the Polling Stations, and earlier preparatory activity that was embarked on by Supervisor of Elections Bailey being stopped.
Bill Johnson of Jamaica-based Johnson’s Survey Research Limited Inc., that had accurately predicted the defeat of the then ruling SKNLP in 2015 General Election, is now projecting that Labour is ahead in seven seats in the current election.
Johnson told Jamaica radio listeners that his poll found that the SKNLP “continues to be significantly in the lead,” and that voters were concerned about allegations that criminals were being paid in a bid to lessen the crime situation on the island.
Suriname held elections on May 25, 2020 and no single political party achieved a two-thirds majority in the elections.
Among the six political parties winning seats in that election, efforts are now underway to develop post-electoral alliances. Four of those parties have already agreed to collaborate and to build a coalition.