It was a resounding landslide victory for the Opposition New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell in Tuesday’s general elections in Grenada.
Dr. Mitchell, a former Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at a major university in the United States, led his party back to the seat of government winning all fifteen seats against the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
The NNP was able to bag all 15 seats for the second time in Grenada’s political history – the first of its kind in the region.
Dr. Mitchell and his NNP swept all 15 seats at the polls in 1999 before one of its winning candidates, Michael Baptiste amidst disagreements crossed the floor to become Leader of the Opposition.
At the start of the campaign for election 2013, the NNP promised to “deliver” to the Grenadian people in the face of a mounting economic and financial crisis facing the island.
The Tillman Thomas-led Congress government had struggled on a few occasions to pay the salaries of civil servants on time especially in the latter months of its time in office.
On Tuesday night before a large gathering of party members and supporters assembled on the Roy St John Playing Field, the NNP presented fourteen of its winning candidates to the people.
The only exception was former Minister of Legal Affairs, Elvin Nimrod who was on the sister isle of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
It was a carnival like atmosphere in Tanteen as NNPites sang and danced to music blasted from DJ’s, buckets and horns before the Prime Minister-elect arrived in a motorcade style to address the Grenadian people.
His first words were a call for unity among the population as he maintained he wanted to leave a legacy behind at the end of his political life, knowing that he had done his best to help the people.
Dressed in a red and white-checkered shirt, Dr. Mitchell told supporters that he is more committed than ever to ensure that Grenadians become a united family.
“Do not look down on those we defeated”, he warned NNP supporters and urged them to take their victory at the polls with humility.
Dr. Mitchell also called on them to reach out to the supporters of other parties as the campaign is over and reminded them that unity is key in building the country.
The NNP leader extended a hand of friendship to some of the major trade union leaders on the island such as the boisterous President-General of the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), Chester Humphrey, a former member of Congress who was expelled from the party last September.
The Conference of Churches was not forgotten as Dr. Mitchell called on them to pray for the nation, as a politically divided country will fail.
He stressed that the NNP victory on Tuesday night should not be seen as a Keith Mitchell victory but a victory led by God and the people.
The NDC campaign focused on issues that plagued the island under the Mitchell Administration during the 1995 to 2008 period such as victimization of public workers, shady dealings with international fraudsters such as Victor Kozeny, Eric Resteiner and Van Brink, and constant legal actions against media houses and journalists.
Congress also campaigned on promises of bringing about new jobs from a host of pending projects like the multi-million dollar new Parliament, the Sandals/La Source hotel, and the construction of roads and bridges with funds provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Speculation is rife that the electorate voted against Congress based on recent infighting within its ranks, the financial challenges facing the country, coupled with high unemployment and rising cost of living.
The local private sector also threw its support behind NNP and against Congress in light of promises made by Dr. Mitchell and his Candidates to improve the investment climate in the country and to build a new economy for the island.
Approximately 51,000 of the 62,146 registered voters’ flocked polling stations on Tuesday to cast their votes among them a massive turnout of young voters (first-time voters).
Minor challenges such as no electricity lighting at polling station LO3 in the wee hours of the morning did not prove to be a challenge for voters who braved the weather to exercise their franchise.
Today (Friday) was designated as a public holiday by Prime Minister-elect Mitchell when he addressed the Tanteen gathering.