BASSETERRE, St Kitts, August 5, 2022 - The people of St. Kitts and Nevis go to the polls today to elect a new government, following the collapse of the Team Unity government of Prime Minister Timothy Harris, forcing him to call elections three years ahead of the required time period.
It is estimated that nearly 51-thousand people in St Kitts and Nevis are registered to cast ballots in today’s general election which will see thirty four candidates representing six political parties contesting the polls.
The main opposition, St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), The Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) and the Moral Restoration Movement (MRM) are contesting 11 seats in the 15-member Parliament.
The other four seats in the legislative chamber will be filled by persons nominated by the Governor General following the polls
Among the other parties contesting the elections are Harris’ People’s Labour Party (PLP);The People’s Action Movement (PAM) and the Nevis-based Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) which comprised the Team Unity Coalition.
The restrictions which prevented a significant number of nationals residing overseas being unable to cast ballots in the 2020 general election remain in place.
The polls are being monitored by observer teams from the Organisation of American States, whose members flew into the Federation on Tuesday, while the six-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) arrived on Wednesday.
The Caricom Election Observation Mission (CEOM), headed by Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Sase Gunraj.
The CEOM also includes Corey Greenidge from Barbados, Cecil Valies of Suriname, and Roslyn Khan-Cummings from Trinidad & Tobago. The observation team was mounted following an invitation from the government of the two-island federation on July 26. The CEOM is supported by Jhonson Alexandre and Alan Donawa of the CARICOM Secretariat.
In an arrival statement issued late Wednesday, Gunraj said the CEOM members met virtually with the Governor General, the Commissioner of Police, and a team from the St Kitts & Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), led by the Leader of the Opposition Dr Denzil Douglas, prior to their arrival.
During the 2015 general election, a total of 22 candidates contested the polls. The ruling St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) fielded eight candidates to the People’s Action Movement’s (PAM) six, while the People’s Labour Party (PLP) nominated two. On the island of Nevis, the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) and the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) each put three candidates forward.
On Saint Kitts, the People's Action Movement won four of the eight seats, whilst the Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party losing half their seats. Contesting their first elections, the People's Labour Party won one seat. On Nevis two seats were won by the Concerned Citizens' Movement and the third by the Nevis Reformation Party.
According to the official figures issued, while 48,076 people had been registered to vote, only 28,032 votes were cast or 58.31 per cent of the electorate, making it the lowest turnout in the previous three elections for the twin-island Federation. Voter turnout was 72.19%.
Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, who had been in power since 1995, conceded defeat. On 23 February, Dr. Harris was sworn in as new Prime Minister, becoming only the third person to assume the post since independence from Britain in 1983.