The incumbent Unity Labor Party (ULP) of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves created history Thursday night by becoming the first party in the nation to win five consecutive general elections.
According to preliminary results from the country’s electoral office, the ULP won nine seats in the 15-seat Legislature, with the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) of Dr. Godwin Friday capturing the remaining six seats.
The ULP increased its seats in Parliament, over the NDP, by one after it had snatched victory, 8-7, in the previous general elections five years ago.
The NDP’s Roland “Patel” Matthews, the Member of Parliament for North Leeward, narrowly lost to the ULP’s Carlos James, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, enabling the ULP to gain the additional seat this time around.
It was sweet revenge for James, who also had narrowly lost to James five years ago.
Gonsalves, 74 — who observers say may step down as prime minister during his new mandate, passing the mantle to his son, Camillo Gonsalves, the finance minister in the previous administration – hailed his party’s triumph Thursday night.
“Today, the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines embraced the politics of ‘Lifting SVG Higher,’” he said in his victory message, echoing the ULP’s campaign theme, “Lifting SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) Higher.” “They embraced our progressive agenda for the future by returning us to government.
“I am humbled and honored that the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines embraced our bold vision for the future and rejected the politics of hate, backwardness and colonialism,” added Gonsalves, who resoundingly retained the North Central Windward constituency, easily brushing aside the NDP’s Chieftain Neptune and the minority Green Party’s Kadmiel McFee. Gonsalves has been representing North Central Windward since 2001.
“We ask Vincentians to celebrate this victory in peace and maturity,” the prime minister urged. “Now is the time to come together as one nation to address our developmental challenges and move forward to uplift our nation and its people.”
Friday, 61, who replaced economist Arnhim Eustace as head of the NDP, retained the Northern Grenadines seat that he has won since 2001.
The two Grenadines seat – Northern and Southern Grenadines – has always been the bastion of NDP control.