The prime Minister has also threatened to make the opposition wait and that he intends to “bun dem out” during the waiting period.
Then again, if one is to go by the face value of recent comments by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas, maybe not even he is certain when the poll would be called. It was two weekends ago while speaking at a rally at Port Zante, when Douglas lamented that he does not intend to call the election until he is sure that all his new candidates can win. This also means that he has information that suggests at present, they would not win, if the contest were held today.
The task for both the government and opposition therefore, in the intervening weeks and months, is to beat the pavement, knock on doors, and visit as many potential supporters as possible. This weekend the Labour leader, Douglas, turned his vote-getting focus on nationals in the US and British Virgin Islands, while the opposition took aim locally.
Members of the opposition continued what seems to be unfolding as a carefully planned series of church visits, meeting and worshipping with citizens in various parts of the island. This weekend (Sunday) the congregation of the Wesley Methodist Church in Basseterre, was the targeted place of fellowship.
And after a short break on the political hustling via public meetings, the united opposition parties are heading back to the constituencies to take their message of change to the people. In so doing they have organized a major public meeting for the possible swing constituency that runs from Challengers to Half Way Tree. They will convene in Old Road, which is a crucial district for the upcoming race between incumbent Glen Phillip of the Labour Party and the challenger, Lindsay Grant, of the People’s Action Movement, PAM.
This seat will be important and also strategic for both parties. It has always been a closely contested two-way battle with the constituency swinging back and forth between PAM and Labour, since the mid-1980s to the present. When the last two polls were held in 2004 and 2010 Grant was declared the loser by very narrow margins. These two results were challenged for irregularities that PAM charged were undertaken to give an unfair advantage and victory to the Labour Party.
With the next poll due within 12 months or sooner, PAM is again accusing the ruling party of numerous illegal electoral activities including the registration of persons in the constituency, although they do not and have never resided there. Grant has for the past couple years lodged complaints with the appropriate electoral authorities but he says that his efforts have been frustrated by a refusal to have his matters heard and also when some are addressed it is only after long delays.
So when Grant, who is a former leader of PAM, and his colleagues move into Old Road on Thursday 13th February, he is expected to continue his crusade to “name and shame” some of the persons whom he says are illegally registered in his constituency. The 14 year political veteran has also been known to launch very aggressive attacks on his rival, Phillip, accusing him of neglecting his constituents for the past 4 years and only now returning to ask for their votes, claimed Grant, because an election is coming.
The Harvard trained lawyer has argued at previous meetings that Phillip has not delivered the solutions to the pressing needs and problems of the people, including jobs, better housing, support for small businesses and the plight of the poor and elderly.
The opposition has also planned a Valentine’s Day special for Friday 14th February, when they zero in on the workers at the C.A. Paul Southwell Industrial Park in Basseterre, for a lunch time meeting.
Both meetings will be addressed by candidates of the People’s Action Movement and the People’s Labour Party, who have, along with the Concerned Citizens Movement in Nevis, formed a coalition of opposition parties, which they term, Team Unity.