Premier Joseph Parry says Nevisians will go to the polls on Jan. 22 to elect a new Nevis Island Administration (NIA). He also named Jan. 14, as Nomination Day.
“At this the start of 2013, we hold the future of our beloved island truly in our hands,” said Parry in a 15-minute nationwide radio and television broadcast on Jan. 5.
“There’s much going on around us, as an island, a federation and a region, that we have little or no ability to determine. But there is the aspect of political, social and economic stability of Nevis, that we can very much influence, and here is where imminent general elections for a new Nevis Island Administration come into sharp focus,” he added.
Parry agreed to a snap poll instead of holding a by-election in the St. John’s constituency after the High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled that the victory of his former deputy Hensley Daniel was null and void last year.
The incumbent Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) held a one-seat majority over the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) following the last NIA poll.
Daniel had won the seat by 14 votes defeating the CCM’s Deputy Leader Mark Brantley and giving the ruling party a slender 3-2 majority in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA).
Brantley had filed an election petition, charging widespread irregularity.
After a two-week trial in January last year, Justice Lionel Jones declared the election invalid.
The respondents, including Daniel, Parry, the Supervisor of Elections, Leroy Benjamin, and electoral officials Bernadette Lawrence and Kelvin Daley had argued during the trial that started in January that the results were free and fair based on existing regulations. Benjamin has since resigned from the post.
In its ruling, the High Court said it was justified in finding bias against Lawrence on the basis of her deliberate proceeding to hold hearings in the absence of the objectees, when it would have been obvious that some 113 of them would have received their notices less than five days before, or on or after, the date of the hearings.
“There was abundant evidence which established not only bias, but worse, bad faith and misfeasance on the part of Ms. Lawrence,” the Appeal Court said.
In his address, Parry told Nevisians that every one over the age of 18 has a responsibility “to influence the crafting of history stage.
“Fellow Nevisians, we stand on the cusp of a new year,” he said. “A new chapter is about to be written about the evolution of these islands.
“The exciting feature of this development is that each of you, above the age of 18, has an opportunity, indeed a responsibility, to influence the crafting of history’s page,” he added.
In October, Parry said there would be a general election and not simply a by-election in the disputed constituency.
“Let’s not believe that we are having a by-election. It is not going to happen,” he said. “No by-election is going to take place in this country. It is going to be a general election.
“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 added.