CHARLESTOWN, Nevis -- Premier of Nevis, Joseph Parry, has given notice that the next time Nevisians vote, it will be in a general election, and not a by-election. The Nevisian leader made the announcement on his weekly “In Touch with the Premier” radio program on Tuesday.
Premier of Nevis Joseph Parry
The need for new elections in Nevis comes in the wake of the OECS Court of Appeal ruling on August 27, which upheld an earlier decision by the High Court that had declared the results of the July 11, 2011 Nevis Island Assembly (NIA) elections in the St John’s seat null and void.
Former deputy premier and social affairs minister, Hensley Daniel of the incumbent Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), had successfully defended the St John’s seat, which he first won after the 2006 Nevis Island Assembly elections, where he upset the holder, CCM’s Malcolm Guishard, now deceased. In the July 2011 elections, Daniel beat challenger Mark Brantley of the CCM by 14 votes.
“I want to make a very important point, and a fundamental point,” said Parry on Tuesday. “Many in Nevis, and elsewhere, are thinking the upcoming elections would be a by-election, but let me say, that it will be a general election.”
He continued, “Let’s not believe that we are having a by-election. It is not going to happen. No by-election is going to take place in this country. It is going to be a general election.”
The premier gave reasons for his decision: “A general election is an election that determines the direction of the country. No one seat can determine that. It is too important. The issue of who runs the country, who gives direction to the country, who carries the ball further, cannot be decided by a by-election.”
He said that the direction Nevis has to take must be determined by all the persons on Nevis who have a right to vote, so that they get an opportunity to make a determination, or to be part of that determination of the direction of the country.
While he did not give the date for the pending general elections, Parry’s notice will now give both political parties on the island the opportunity to prepare for a full election. Even though both parties have been in a full campaign mode, persons in the opposition party have been calling for a by-election in the St John’s seat.
“And I want to say this: the election is really not between CCM and NRP,” said Parry. “Let us not fool ourselves, and think it is simply between CCM and NRP. It is not. The election is about who controls the country.”
He reiterated, “Let me make that point again. The election is about who controls Nevis and the election is to determine the direction that Nevis must take in the future as we come out of this recession. And so, while you have the CCM and NRP contesting seats in the election, look behind them and see who they represent, and who controls, and who has aspirations.”
The NRP will most likely present the same candidates who contested the July 2011 elections, where it won three of the five seats. The opposition CCM, however, has not officially named its candidate for the St Paul’s seat, following the withdrawal and subsequent migration of their failed candidate Michael Perkins, who lost by over 200 votes to NRP incumbent, Robelto Hector.
“I am putting it to you today that there are two groups,” said Parry on his weekly radio program, “a group that does not want change, one that was frightened because Nevis is changing.
He said the other group has total confidence in the people of this country, “and they believe that we as Nevisians can take this country where we want to take it without destroying it: We who believe in ourselves, who believe that we have the education, we have the mentality, we have the maturity to do what is necessary to carry our country forward.”