It was generally a day of steady voting in most of the constituencies, though later in the afternoon as the closing hour approached, the long lines in most of the 32 polling stations started to dwindle in numbers. In St. Johns and St. James however, the flow was heavy throughout, especially in places like Brick Kiln. There were hundreds of visiting voters who ensured that they were first in line to complete their task of voting, to allow them to return to their usual place of residence overseas.
Just after 10:00am scores of such voters were observed arriving in St. Kitts on what appeared to have been a chartered ferry service from Charlestown to Basseterre; on their way to the Robert Bradshaw International Airport, in preparation for their departure from the two island federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. However a number of these voters were forced to miss their flights, expressing concerns about not being able to make their connection, some in Miami, onward to their final destinations. These, as we have been reliably informed have been accommodated overnight at one of the leading hotels in Frigate Bay by local sponsors.
Though leaders of both the CCM and NRP spoke with great confidence about the developments of the day, it remains too close. The main contest has been between CCM’s Mark Brantley and NRP’s Hensley Daniel in St. John’s while over in the St. James Parish, NRP’s Patrice Nisbett is hoping that he was successful this time around against CCM’s Alexis Jeffers.
Both party leaders, Vance Amory for the CCM in St. George and Joseph Parry in St. Thomas, are expected to win their seats. So too is Robelto Hector of the NRP in St. Paul’s (Charlestown). That is why all eyes will be on St. James and St. John. These hold the key to determine who forms the government.
Generally the elections were peaceful, despite the extremely heavy police presence. In the district of Cox Village in St. John’s there was some mix up however that could affect the chances of the CCM’s candidate. Names that the court on Monday ruled must be returned to the Voter’s List were not restored by the time the voters arrived Tuesday morning in the line in preparation to cast their ballots. This is because the Supervisor of Elections Raphael Archibald and his staff failed to produce and publish the revised and supplementary list to reflect the addition of the names. By the time the names were restored and the list amended as ordered the day before by the court, the voters had already left the polling division. It is being speculated that they were not aware of their names being reinstated and may not have voted by the 6:00pm deadline. This however has not been confirmed.
This is crucial because in the 2011 poll CCM’s Mark Brantley was declared to have lost by only 14 votes.
During the day however, there were many reports that the police were intimidating voters and were sporting “big” machine guns that some voters saw as a measure to scare them. This however has been rejected by the Police commissioner, Mr. CG Walwyn. In response the police issued a press release Tuesday afternoon to explain its position.
“The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force has been receiving phone calls that statements are being made on the airwaves by a caller with regard to voters of his district being disenfranchised by the police,” said the statement.
“All citizens are afforded the right to vote and that right shall not be infringed,” it continued.
Police indicated that there is no truth to the allegation that the police were intimidating citizens. The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force was patrolling all areas of the island of Nevis in their capacity as peacekeepers, said the statement. It concluded, “The peace and security of the Federation will be preserved. The police will maintain law and order and will arrest any person or persons contravening the law without exception.”