By Caribbean News Now contributor
CHARLESTOWN, Nevis -- The opposition Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) emerged victorious at the polls in Nevis on Tuesday. The results came near 7:00 am on Wednesday, confirming the CCM’s victory over the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP).
The election results paved the way for new leadership of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) for the next five years.
Premier elect and leader of the victorious Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) Vance Amory moments after his party’s victory at the Nevis polls
According to the results, leader of the CCM Vance Amory emerged victorious over Patricia Hanley of the NRP in the St Georges Parish with a total of 713 votes. Hanley received 195 votes.
Deputy leader of the CCM Mark Brantley overcame deputy leader of the NRP Hensley Daniel in the St Johns Parish with 1,584 votes while Daniel got 1,344 votes.
In the St James Parish, Alexis Jeffers of the CCM beat Patrice Nisbett with 980 votes, compared to Nisbett’s 760.
In the St Thomas Parish, leader of the NRP and former premier of Nevis Joseph Parry beat the CCM’s Keith Scarborough with 483 votes. Scarborough amassed 176 votes.
In his first interview after his party’s victory, Amory said the first order of business would be the official swearing in sometime on Thursday but not before supporters were given the day before to celebrate the victory.
“The first order of business is to get our official swearing in done but that may not be until tomorrow because today we intend to do a little bit of enjoyment, take a run around the island let people see us, adulate with them let them see we appreciate what they have done for us and for their country,” he said.
According to the premier elect, following the swearing in and assignment of portfolios, his government would begin to look at how they would implement its policies which they believed would be the transformation of the economy of Nevis and to see how best they could get that done.
“Our first order is to look at high taxes and see where we can adjust them and I have said many, many times that the IMF ought not to imposing what they consider to be good policy we must have the ability to do that for ourselves and to look out for the people, our people who elected us to serve them and their interest,” he said.
Notwithstanding, Amory described his victory at the polls as a humbling experience and although it was not the first time had the feeling that his victory was not of his own doing.
“This is the doing of so many persons and we have to give thanks to God he has kept us even during very trying times over the last six and a half years but more so in the last 18 months. We have really come through what I call trial by fire and other things, trials in the court as well because that has been an integral part of our strategy as well, to regain decency and to restore Nevis to a really wonderful country.
“We have been bruised and battered. I think our country has been embarrassed and the people have seen that we were consistent and constant in what we were saying to them that we wanted to give them a chance to have new hope and I think the people have responded,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Electoral Observer Mission (CEOM) issued its preliminary report on the elections.
Prior to deployment, the Mission held discussions with the electoral management body with the objective of achieving greater understanding of the state of readiness of the machinery and any issues having the likelihood of impacting the election. Meetings were sought with several other stakeholders with the said intent; however, due to the short time span between the arrival of the Mission and its deployment, these meetings did not materialise.
The CEOM deployed its members to the five constituencies where the conduct of the poll was observed in all locations. The Mission took note of and generally observed the following as preliminary findings:
1. The poll was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere without any incidence of intimidation observed or being reported. The citizens of Nevis exercised their democratic right in a civil and responsible manner demonstrating respect for the electoral process.
2. Polling stations, in the majority of instances, opened on time and it was observed that all the polling officials were present. The police provided adequate security at all polling stations.
3. Polling stations appeared to be suitable in terms of location and capacity to accommodate elections. The stations seem to have been adequately supplied with the necessary material and the staff fairly knowledgeable about polling procedures. Most of the presiding officers and other electoral officials appeared confident and composed, and despite inconsistencies in the application of procedures, generally operated within the framework of the law.
4. Supplementary lists were distributed on the morning of the election. The production of these lists resulted from an affidavit filed in January 21, 2013, and the subsequent order of the High Court. The CEOM observed that in several instances, the list arrived within the first four hours after the opening of the stations.
5. The CEOM is also aware that there are several areas in the administration of the electoral process that require urgent attention, details of which will be provided in the Mission’s final report to be submitted to the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
6. The CEOM made reference to the report of the previous CEOM submitted following the July 2011 elections, noting that several of the recommendations contained therein bears currency to this election and perhaps merit consideration.
7. The CEOM noted improvement in the general logistic arrangements, especially as it related to areas such as the relocation of the polling stations previously situated at Ivor Walters School in the constituency of St John’s (Nevis 2). The stations were relocated to the Special Education School. The CEOM also notes that in the said constituency an additional polling station was established at Cox.
Finally, the Mission congratulated the people of Nevis on their commitment to the principles and traditions of democracy demonstrated by the voter turnout and the discipline, goodwill and general camaraderie displayed at the polling stations.
Previous elections in Nevis were held in July 2011 and the need for new elections came in the wake of an OECS Court of Appeal ruling on August 27, 2012, which upheld an earlier decision by the High Court that had declared the results of the July 11, 2011, elections in the St John’s seat null and void.
The effect of the court ruling was that the NRP and the CCM each then had equal seats (two each and one vacant) and, in October, then premier Parry announced that there would be a general election and not simply a by-election in the disputed constituency