Written by LK Hewlett
The people of Nevis have spoken, they have re-elected the Concerned Citizen’s Movement CCM for a second consecutive term. This time the CCM widened its margin of victory over the Joseph Parry-led Nevis Reformation Party winning 4 of the 5 seats up for grabs.
The polls opened at 7 o’clock Monday morning to heavy showers, however by midmorning the skies were clear and most polling stations saw a slow trickle of voters. Those numbers picked up late in the afternoon when persons would have finished working.
The atmosphere throughout the day was serene, and perhaps too calm for some pundits, who feared a low voter turnout would favor the opposition. Even when the polls closed at 6pm there was no report of large turnouts at the polling stations.
Supervisor of Elections Elvin Bailey began announcing results just after 9pm, starting with district 5 St. Thomas. That seat was contested by NRP’s Joseph Parry, who defeated CCM’s Keith Scarborough 518 votes to 229. There was 1 spoiled ballot and a whopping 10 rejected ballots. District 5 had a total of 1380 registered voters.
The next final result to be announced was district 4, St. James, which had 2338 voters. CCM’s Deputy Leader Alexis Jeffers was returned to power, defeating NRP’s newcomer Virgil Browne 833 votes to 528. There were 7 rejected ballots.
From there it was all good news for the CCM party.
Eric Evelyn, CCM’s newcomer who took over for Vance Amory in district 3 St. George, defeated Corey Tyson of the NRP 761 votes to 233. Mr. Evelyn beat Tyson in every box. That district had a total of 1650 voters.
Supporters on both sides anxiously awaited the results of district 1, St. Pauls, the seat contested by NRP’s Robelto Hector and Spencer Brand of the CCM, which, based on the 2013 results, was expected to be a close race. When the votes were tallied Mr. Brand was declared the winner 596 votes to Hector’s 585. There were 12 spoiled ballots and 3 rejected. District 1 had a total of 2025 voters.
Despite already having won the majority of seats, the voters waited with bated breath for the results of district 2, St. John where CCM leader Mark Brantley came up against NRP’s deputy leader Hensley Daniel. Mr. Brantley was ahead by over 200 votes with just 4 boxes left to call when the results stopped coming.
It took a few hours before the final results were announced.
A little after 2am Elections Supervisor announced the results for the remaining boxes in district 2. At the end of the night’s tally, Mark Brantley was declared the winner with 1334 votes over Hensley Daniel’s 1000 votes. There were 51 spoiled ballots. That district had 3910 voters.
It was pandemonium at the CCM party headquarters on Government Road in Charlestown as supporters turned up in the numbers to celebrate their victory with the candidates.
In his victory speech, Premier Elect Mark Brantley announced that Tuesday would be declared a public holiday for Nevis. He spoke to WINN FM about the campaign and the way forward for the new Nevis Island Administration. He said while they have some ideas about the makeup of their new Cabinet, that would be revealed at the swearing-in ceremony in the coming days. WINN FM also asked about the 2018 NIA budget, which the Premier-elect said would come sometime in January.
WINN FM tried unsuccessfully to reach members of the NRP to get their thoughts on what went wrong for the party, and to ask if the defeat would cause the party to reevaluate its leadership and candidate options before the next election rolls around.
Islandwide motorcades are planned for later on Tuesday.