Election rallies were held in different parts of St. Kitts on Tuesday night (27th January), as politicians and their parties prepare for the tough poll that is before them. The ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party hosted their meeting in Buckley’s, West Basseterre, while the opposition alliance of three parties, PAM, CCM and PLP, staged theirs in Conaree.
While making the announcement, the prime minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, also declared that Nomination Day has been set as Friday 6th February.
The Labour Party will be seeking an unprecendented fifth term, after Douglas rode to office in 1995, defeating the then long-serving prime minister Dr. Kennedy Simmonds, whose People’s Action Movement, PAM, along with the Nevis Reformation Party, NRP, led the country from 1980, after forming a coalition government to remove Labour, that had been in office since the 1950s.
Douglas says he will be running his campaign on a program of economic success and social transformation, while the opposition group is arguing for change, from a government that is corrupt and undemocratic and one that ignores the principles of good governance.
Tuesday’s announcement for the poll came only hours after a court case that had lifted an injunction on the government’s plans to change the electoral boundaries in both St. Kitts and Nevis. The opposition had argued that the process followed was flawed and unfair.
However, when High Court Judge Marlene carter delivered her ruling in a packed courtroom in Basseterre, the country’s capital, on Tuesday afternoon, it was obvious that while the opposition had made its case on the timing of the Proclamation for the boundary changes, and when they were gazetted, this was not a hindrance because the Governor General’s Proclamation does not rely on them time of them being placed in the Gazette. She also agreed with the government side that the injunction was granted after the proclamation was signed.
The opposition lawyers howver requested that there be a stay of execution on the decision and for the injunction to remain in place, but after hearing the argument from the lawyers of the joint opposition, she adjourned the matter until Wednesday morning at 9:00am, 28th January, when her final ruling will be made on the request.
In the meantime both govenment and opposition appear to have already begun their campaign, given the huge crowds that were observed at the two rallies on Tuesday.