In the process, 65-year-old Keith Claudius Mitchell entered into the history of Caribbean politics when he led his New National Party (NNP) to a clean sweep of the 15 seats at stake in Tuesday’s general election, becoming the first political leader here to achieve the feat, having previously done so in .
Mitchell, whose NNP had been booted out of office in 2008 by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of outgoing Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, said however he hoped to leave a legacy of having united the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
Preliminary results showed that the NNP, which had only four seats in the last parliament, had been able to attract many of 62, 146 people who were eligible to cast a ballot in the general election.
The results was a bitter blow for Thomas and the NDC that sought to portray itself as a united party following the infighting that led to the dismissal and resignation of senior cabinet ministers including tourism minister Peter David and foreign affairs minister Karl Hood.
Former Cabinet minister Glyniss Roberts, who along with David, Hood and prominent trade unionist Chester Humphrey, were booted out of the NDC last year, did not fare well as leader of the National United Front (NUF) during the election.
She along with two other NUF candidates had contested the elections but the results showed that the party was not a force to reckon with.
For his part, Thomas headed a number of senior cabinet ministers including finance minister Nazim Burke that were trounced by relatively new comers to the politics, four and a half years after their had won the polls by an 11-4 margin in .
Thomas polled 1,153 votes as against 1, 288 for political newcomer Clifton Paul, a retired teacher, while Nazim Burke was swept aside in the St. George’s North East constituency by the relatively unknown candidate, Tobia Clement, a lecturer at the St. George’s University here, who later told reporters that “I say to God be the glory”.
“The younger voters are the ones who played a factor in this election, apart from the economy and jobs,” he told reporters, adding “it is not because of what we did not do well.
“We did a very good job in the economy itself from what we had and what we met, but this is democracy so I am not perturbed. I have been through this already in 1999.”
Joseph told supporters that they should not be disheartened.
Among the casualties were Finance Minister Nazim Burke, Social Development Minster Sylvester Quarless and Works Minister Arlene Walker.
Burke was defeated in the St. George’s North East constituency by the relatively unknown candidate, Tobia Clement, a lecturer at the St. George’s University here, who later told reporters that “I say to God be the glory.
“”I always out my trust in the Lord and tonight he has moved in a big way,” he added.
Mitchell told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that “it is clear that we have won the election, it is very likely we will win all the seats”.
He said he would be addressing party supporters at a rally at Tanteen, on the outskirts of the capital later on Tuesday night.
Reprinted from Caribbean Politics