The first stage of the process was declared on Thursday evening, (8th November), when incumbent Premier and leader of the ruling Nevis Reformation Party,(NRP), Joseph Parry, made known that he had requested the Governor General, to dissolve the five member island Assembly, in preparation of elections. Parry however did not take the next two significant steps required for an actual poll; therefore opting to delay his requests to the Head of State, for a day of nomination and a day for the election, to be declared.
“Accordingly, I have instructed His Excellency, the Governor General, to dissolve the Nevis Island Assembly effective today. In due course, and certainly within the constitutionally stipulated period, I shall advise further on the issuance of a writ for the calling of fresh elections and will also on that occasion reveal the recommended dated for the nomination of candidates and voting in fresh elections,” stated Parry in his live address via radio, television and internet.
But his decision to hold back on the actual polling day has already been criticized by factions of the opposition, but as far as the Premier is concerned, until such date is determined and made known, he is urging all Nevisians to continue going about their business in a normal manner, “as the eyes of the world are upon us and we must demonstrate on this occasion our pride and maturity as a people, and portray Nevis as one of the best places on earth to live.” It is doubtful though, said some commentators if this would be the case. The campaign will begin and things will be anything but normal, predicted one political commentator. It is therefore expected that the political temperature on the island will be intensified as opposing sides begin to prepare for the inevitable.
Parry, who said he is confident of victory teased his listeners and no doubt provoked his opponents by holding out of the date, though he stated, “I wish to have this election period concluded as early as possible. The people of Nevis are a disciplined, mature and responsible people. I see no reason why there should be any major dislocation, socially, economically or otherwise, during this absolutely necessary exercise.”
There had been some murmuring in some quarters for possible legal challenge to force Parry into a by-election, rather than an island-wide poll, given the consequences that demanded an early return to the electorate after last year’s elections, that saw NRP being declared winner of three of the five seats. However the outcome in one constituency, (St. John’s) was successfully challenged, with the OECS Appeals court declaring the seat vacant, due to massive electoral irregularities that disenfranchised over 200 voters. Though the constitution required the calling of a by-election within 90 days, Parry always hinted that he would opt for a wider poll, putting all five seats on the table to be determined by all the electorate. The constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis also clearly allows the Premier, as it does the Prime Minister, to call fresh island-wide or general elections, at any time he so desires.
“My contention is, and has always been, that since that seat held the balance of power in the Nevis Island Administration, any consequent election of what in effect would be a new government, should involve all eligible Nevisian voters. An election in the constituency of St. John’s at this time would not only elect a new representative, it would also determine the formation of the government…and therefore, it is my considered opinion that if a new government is to be elected, then all eligible Nevisian voters should be given an opportunity to participate in the process,” explained Mr. Parry.
“I have signaled my intention to call fresh elections, because I am confident of the fair-mindedness of Nevisians. The Nevis Reformation Party was returned to office in July, 2011 with a clear mandate by the majority of those who voted to continue the rescue and rebuild operation started four years prior.”