The flag has been lifted – Election race is on

With just about Six Months of the current term of the NDC Government Parliamentary term remaining – the Prime Minister on Wednesday 9th January advised the Governor General to dissolve Parliament, and thereby set the scene for an Election date to be announced, within the next ninety days from the date of dissolution.

That state of affairs was not surprising, because the alternative was re-opening Parliament which has been on recess and later prorogued for nearly Six months, and there was also a no-confidence Motion pending debate on the Old Order paper, by Karl Hood.

So now we are waiting for the Election date to be announced by the Prime Minister – after some more voters have been registered, because once the date has been named, and the Governor General issues his Writ for the Election, there will be no more registration.

One of the concerns facing the Church and the Government, is the timing of the Election date because the Lenten Season begins in early February, and holding Rallies and other Canvassing activities during the season could pose problems for Religious Leaders.

It is hoped that there will be some discussion between the two sides so as to arrive at a reasonable solution and avoid upsetting either side.

The timing of the Election date could have adverse effects for either side of the two front runners – NDC and NNP – if some careful thought is not given to the effects on the Lenten season, from Election Campaigning.

There are ninety days from the date of the dissolution to choose the Election date – and I would have thought some discussion had been taking place before the date was announced.

What is also of some deep interest or concerns, are the very recent announcements about the available funding, for some projects that have been on the drawing board for some time now, but only just coming on stream.

The St. Patrick’s Roads and Bridges project in the Prime Minister’s own Constituency, is a classic example of a long-standing development that has been awaiting funding for years.

Whether these and those projects do come on stream before the Elections are in fact held, they may help the chances of those in the driving seats on the day of the people’s decisions – but it will be very interesting if they do get started before “D-day”, and those now in control in fact lose the Elections as a whole.

Whatever were the reasons for the very quiet period – as far as our parliamentary business was concerned from July last year, and now ending the Government control Six months before its five years time-span expires – the premature dissolution, in the existing circumstances now facing the care-takers for the next Ninety days, could have all sorts of un-welcomed repercussions over which they will have no control, and could be very detrimental to their chances at the Polls.

The situation, as I see it, is very risky either way for the controllers in the remaining number of days before the Poll is held.

The timing of the date during or after the Lenten Season, as well as the commencement of work on any of the projects now pending, for which funding has been achieved in recent times – will both have some significant effects on the outcome of the elections, in my humble opinion as I look in from the outside.

There has been silence about the new and up-dated Electoral system, until very recently – and even after six months and over, a lot of us who registered way back then have yet to receive a voter’s card.

Now that the election process is in stream, by the dissolution of Parliament, I trust that those who have been saying they are not voting this time around, that they will be inspired to get registered and change their minds about not voting.

By the time you are reading this – the two major rallies scheduled for Sunday 13th January, by the Two frontline parties (NDC & NNP) – will have been held, and maybe we will all know by then the date chosen and disclosed by the Prime Minister at his St. Patrick’s Rally.

Whether or not we know the date by Sunday, I do hope some careful thought and very serious consideration would have been given to making that choice – especially as it will or could have some disturbing effects on the upcoming Lenten Season Celebrations.

Whenever it may be, the next few weeks leading up to that important date, will be of very significant interest in the lives and the welfare of our people for the next five years and beyond.

Those who have not yet made up their minds, about which Party they will be casting their votes for – assuming they have already been registered to vote – they should be doing so in the weeks ahead.

And just as importantly, those who have not yet been registered must do so as soon as possible – because once the Election Writ has been issued by the Governor General, the Registration of voters ceases immediately.

There can be no doubting that the upcoming Elections are of very significant interest to our people Island-wide – and therefore all those who are qualified to play their part in the said Elections are obliged to do just that; or should they fail, then for the next Five years hold their peace and take whatever will be coming to them – good, bad or indifferent.

The timing of the actual date of Elections is very important, because of the up-coming Lenten Season and our traditional Religious activities in that period – and it is very well known how the political meetings, and Rallies, and campaigning in general, can be very disruptive in those times, and may even cause a whole lot of customary worshippers to stay away from the meetings and the Polls.

The Elections of July 2008, were described as voting for change, after Thirteen years of the NNP and Dr. Mitchell as Prime Minister.

We did get the change required, but those voted into office failed to bring about the necessary changes – and instead five of them abandoned the ship of state in mid-stream, and the rest is now history.

So here we are again going back to the Polls in four and a half years, with a whole lot of voters very disappointed and frustrated and victory up for grabs.

Having written all the above before Sunday the Thirteenth – up came the Prime Minister to announce that General Elections will be held on Tuesday 19th February 2013 – just seven days into the Lenten Season.

The Die has now been cast – so now we wait and hope, and pray that all goes well for a peaceful and trouble-free Campaign – and may the people’s fully considered choice prevails, in the best interest of all our people and Tri-Island State.

If cannot be over-emphasised – that this Election is very critical for the good and welfare of all our people, and for the way ahead of our troubled Tri-Island State.

It is therefore generally and sincerely hoped, that the largest possible turn out of voters will go to the Polling Stations and cast their votes on Election Day.

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