ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Tuesday January 30, 2018 – Grenadians will go to the polls to elect a new government on March 13.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell announced the date – the 39th anniversary of the coup which saw the United Labour Party government of Sir Eric Gairy overthrown by the Maurice Bishop-led New Jewel Movement – at a rally of his New National Party (NNP) on Sunday night.
Parliament was dissolved yesterday and voter registration also closed that day. Nomination Day is February 20.
In the last poll, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) failed to secure a single seat, with the NNP winning all 15.
Political scientist Peter Wickham believes Mitchell’s party has a very good chance of holding on to the reins of government in the March election. And he told online newspaper Barbados Today that Mitchell may have chosen the election date as an attempt to unify the country.
“We are at a point now where Dr Mitchell has signalled that this will be his last election; it’s the end of an era. The NNP has significant national support, there’s no question of it. And I think that what Dr Mitchell is saying is, ‘look, my legacy has to be a unification of Grenada’. And the section of Grenada that he really needs to pull on board now is people who probably supported the NNP.
“A lot of those people are associated with the revolution and have a lot of love in their hearts for Maurice Bishop. He [Mitchell] on the campaign trail already made reference to [NNP MP and deputy general secretary] Peter David being the new Maurice Bishop, and my sense is that he is building a bridge by virtue of that,” Wickham said.
The Barbadian pollster suggested that the NDC would have a hard battle to fight, coming from so far behind without even one of its members in Parliament.
But he also warned that complacency could hurt the NNP.
“One assumes that going into this, Dr Mitchell does not have a whole lot to lose. On the other hand, however, that may very well be Dr Mitchell’s biggest burden. NNP supporters may feel less motivated to come out to vote largely because NNP supporters may feel that there’s a home run that they have in the bag and there’s really no need to participate further,” Wickham told Barbados Today.