Prime Minister elect Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris is scheduled to be sworn in today (Wednesday, February 18) at 5 p.m.
An opposition alliance has won parliamentary elections in St Kitts and Nevis, ending the 20-year reign of Prime Minister Denzil Douglas and the St. Kitts/Nevis Labour Party…but not without drama!
Denzil Douglas, who has been prime minister since 1995, conceded defeat on behalf of the St Kitts and Nevis Labour party on Tuesday, offering his congratulations to a three-party opposition coalition called Team Unity. The Team Unity alliance is comprised of the People’s Action Movement, the Concerned Citizens Movement and the People’s Labour party:
This has been a long and hard election campaign. And what the impassioned, but peaceful – always peaceful – public meetings, rallies, and jousting said to the world, time and again, was that ours is a vibrant and mature democracy, and that Kittitians and Nevisians, a politically mature and responsible people.
I shall forever cherish having been given the opportunity to lead the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis. And for this most precious of opportunities, I once again thank you. ~The Right Honorable Dr. Denzil L. Douglas
The concession, however, was a long time in coming as the Supervisor of Elections, Wingrove George took quite some time to announce election results leading to accusations of election fraud. A situation so serious that CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry Christie of The Bahamas issued a statement on Tuesday:
CARICOM is therefore extremely concerned that the Supervisor of Elections has not yet officially declared the results of the preliminary count. The Caribbean Community calls on the Supervisor of the Elections to do so without further delay. The time-honoured practice in St. Kitts and Nevis has been to release the preliminary results of elections within hours of the close of the polls. The non-release of the preliminary results is therefore unacceptable and creates a climate of uncertainty.
I call on all concerned to fulfill their obligations in the electoral process, to respect the will of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and to ensure that the democratic traditions of our Caribbean Community are upheld. ~CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry Christie of The Bahamas
After a 12-hour delay, and no real explanation the Supervisor of Elections, Wingrove George finally announced preliminary results. George let everyone know he had done nothing wrong and was just ensuring the accuracy of the results:
And for those who might have been suggesting that I am using delaying tactics, there is nothing to delay about the facts. It’s just to make sure the information reported is really the facts. To do it hastily could ensure that you are not reporting the facts.”
The CARICOM Observer mission group also issued a statement concerning the St. Kitts Nevis elections:
The CARICOM Observer Mission engaged in numerous discussions with representatives of the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party, with representative of the opposition parties and civil society groups and with concerned citizens. Their collective views, expressed openly and sometimes with uncomfortable frankness pointed to the many legal, institutional and administrative challenges with which they had to cope and which in their collective view had an ongoing impact on the effectiveness the St. Kitts and Nevis elections process as a whole.
The CARICOM Observer Mission will analyze these expressions along with all other relevant data with a view to making substantive recommendations for future action, to be initiated by the CARICOM Secretariat, towards ensuring that common regional standards become the hallmark of elections in Member States of the Caribbean Community.
The newly elected Prime Minister is set to be sworn in today however, the Governor General who is responsible for the swearing in refuses to do so until he has a hard copy of the election results from the Supervisor of Elections!!!…the drama continues…
Today is a great day! Team Unity has won the general election. Our Democracy will prevail and the fresh start we have all been yearning will come to fruition. Your resolve, strength and our UNITY is changing our country for the better. Change is here and I know you can feel it. Again, I ask you to continue to be patient. ~Timothy Harris, Prime Minister-Elect St Kitts/Nevis
After such a tumultuous election, I sincerely hope that St. Kitts/Nevis will learn from this experience, make changes if necessary and move forward as a unified nation.
RCS SIDEBAR: Hundreds if not thousands of Labour voters were stranded at airports all over the globe and never made it to the two-island nation to cast their votes due to several cancelled charter flights. Reportedly, none of the opposition flights were cancelled and all of their voters arrived as planned. Needless to say, the conspiracy theories abound…STORY DEVELOPING