Member of Parliament for South St. George constituency, Alexandra Otway-Noel has been told by the hierarchy of the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell that she would not be considered for the upcoming general election.
This was disclosed by the party’s General Secretary, Roland Bhola who is also the island’s Minister of Youth and Sports who gave details of the Selection process being used by the NNP to arrive at its 15 candidates for the national poll.
Bhola, who was speaking on a local radio station, outlined the details against the backdrop of last week’s announcement by the NNP to name five persons as Caretakers for constituencies.
The new Caretaker for St. George South is Health Minister, Nicholas Steele, the current Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister in the 2008-13 Tillman Thomas-led Congress Government, Peter David who has switched allegiance to NNP has been named as its Caretaker for the Town of St. George over Steele.
The other NNP Caretaker that were named are Works Minister Gregory Bowen to defend his St. George South East Constituency, Implementation Minister Emmalin Pierre to continue in St. Andrew’s South East, and newcomer Senator Pamela Moses who is Junior Minister of Sport for the Constituency of St. Patrick’s East.
Sen. Moses is replacing the incumbent, Clifton Paul who has played a very insignificant role since he won the constituency in 2013 over Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
Bhola, the Parliamentary Representative for St. Andrew’s North East, said that in going through the process of having to prepare for an election, someone might be named as a Caretaker, but before getting to the stage of naming the actual candidate there may be reasons to believe that the person who served as Caretaker is not capable or no longer interested in wanting to contest the seat.
“In most cases a party does not want to put someone’s name forward as a Caretaker without knowledge that that person is seeking and willing to be the candidate,” he quipped.
However, the senior government minister pointed out that when it finally comes to the stage of selecting a candidate, the question will be placed to the constituency branch.
The NNP General Secretary said it was strategic on the part of the 1party to name David as Caretaker for the Town, and place the incumbent Steele over Otway-Noel in the South since he resides in the South.
Otway-Noel who is the Parliamentary Representative for the South St. George Constituency resigned from the government earlier this year.
Bhola said while she gave a commitment to consider running once more in the upcoming election, as a Candidate, the party and its Strategic Committee did not think that was the right thing to do.
“We had to call her in and explain to her why it was not the best thing to do, to try to go forward. So she then agreed that she has to drop her interest and intentions. And so in deciding how do you now replace her… we believe that from what we know as of this present time, that Nicholas Steele has that ability,” he remarked.
According to Bhola, the controversial David who became an NNP Senator last year made himself available as a possible Caretaker and received the approval of the Selection Committee.
David won the Town of St. George on two occasions in 2003 and 2008 under the banner of Congress.
As soon as he won the seat the first time around defeating the incumbent, Brenda Hood, a legal battle was waged against him by the NNP through former Special Prosecutor, Hugh Wildman which claimed that he held dual citizenship as a Canadian.
In remarking about the issue, Bhola said at the time there was a difference in legal opinion based on the interpretation of being a Commonwealth Citizen.
“Legal minds for the NNP at the time felt that based on how they interpreted the law that he (David) was originally a Grenadian who then renounced his Grenadian Citizenship for Canadian Citizenship, and in that context they felt they could have challenged it,” he said.
During the legal battle, Prime Minister Mitchell led a barrage of criticisms against DavCid accusing him of pulling a gun on his father during the October 1983 bloody political events on the island and of being involved in a credit card fraud scheme in the United States.
David was identified as the leader of a faction within NDC that consistently challenged the authority of Prime Minister Thomas before several of them were expelled from the party at its 2012 convention held at the St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School.
Although no date has been given for the election, the NNP, which controls all 15 seats in the Lower House of Parliament, has indicated that all 15 Caretakers will be named within a matter of weeks.
General Elections are constitutionally due in 2018 but political pundits are predicting a poll sometime in June.