Five more elections due in Caricom this year

Dear Editor,

2015 seems to be election year in the Caribbean Community with six countries holding general elections. In fact one was already held on February 16 last when Denzil Douglas who served 20 years as Prime Minister of the federation of St. Kitts/Nevis failed in his bid to retain power although he used all the tricks in the books to do so.

The tiny island of Anguilla is carded to have its election on 25th April when Hubert Hughes will try to retain power. What is different in this election is that International Observers will be present to monitor the election. Hughes is on his first term after he defeated Osbourne Fleming’s AUF in 2001.

Guyana is the next country scheduled to hold elections. President Donald Ramotar was forced to call elections on May 11 after he suspended Parliament in order to avoid a no confidence motion filed against his PPP/C by the opposition parties. The two major opposition parties, APNU (merger of the PNCR, WPA and others) and the AFC merged on Valentine Day in the quest to defeat the PPP/C which has been in power for 22 years.

The opposition is contending that the PPP/C is corrupt.

As I write Belize is preparing for local government elections which will be held on March 4 and political pundits say that the results will determine whether two-term Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, will continue as head of government. His United Democratic Party (UDP) will get stiff opposition from Francis Fonseca’s People’s United Party (PUP). At the last general elections the UDP gained 17 seats while the opposition movement secured 14.

Elections in the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago are due before the end of this year and no doubt it will be a keen struggle for Kamla Persad Bissessar of the UNC to retain her position as Prime Minister since there are signs that her party’s merger with three other parties is showing signs of “cracking up” especially from the large Congress of the People (COP) movement.

The People’s National Movement (PNM) has a relatively new leader in Keith Rowley and he has been criticized for “wining down” with a 17 year-old during the carnival festivities.

In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, elections are constitutionally due in December, but there is rumbling that three-term Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves might call elections a few months before since the Argyll International Airport cannot be completed by year end and he might in electioneering tell the electorate that if they want the airport to be completed they have to return his United Labour Party (ULP) to office. Moreover it is rumoured that there is “in fighting”  within the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) headed by economist Arnhim Eustace.

Yours faithfully,
Oscar Ramjeet

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