THE VALLEY, Anguilla, Thursday April 23, 2015, CMC – Victor Banks led his Anguilla United Front (AUF) to a landslide victory in Wednesday’s general election, winning six of the seven seats at stake and in the process ensuring that the incumbent Anguilla United Movement (AUM) did not win a single seat on this British Overseas Territory.
“It is a significant victory for the Anguilla United Front. We were able to win six of the seven seats and this is the first time this has happened…since 1980,” a jubilant Banks told reporters.
“I believe it is an indication that the Anguilla United Front has been able to communicate its message to the people of Anguilla and the people of Anguilla believe in terms of the record of the last government we are best suited to deliver on its commitment to the people”.
Banks, a former finance minister, said that the outgoing Hubert Hughes government “was not very assertive in putting forward its programme.
“They claimed to have had a plan for Anguilla…and over the past four years you did not see any evidence of the plan. Things actually got worse,” he said, adding “this government never really took off …”
Both the AUF and the AUM contested all seven seats in the election that was being observed by a six-member team from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) British Islands and the Mediterranean.
The other seat in the general election was won by independent candidate, Palmavon Webster, an attorney, who held off a strong challenge from incumbent representative for District One Othlyn Vanterpool of the AUF and the new AUM leader Dr Ellis Lorenzo Webster, a first time candidate in Anguillan politics.
Two former government ministers in the 2010-2015 Hughes administration – Social Development Minister Jerome Roberts and Public Works Minister Evan Gumbs – both failed to win their seats, losing to lawyer Cora Richardson Hodge and Banks, a former finance minister in a previous government led by retired leader Osbourne Fleming.
Also winning for the AUF were first time candidates former English country cricketer Cardigan Connor and Evalie Bradley, a retired former civil servant.
Connor edged out newcomer and lawyer Kristy Richardson-Harrigan of the AUM by a margin of 389 to 13 while Bradley secured an upset 10 vote win over AUM newcomer Patrick Hanley, polling 398 to 388. Curtis Richardson of the AUF who ran twice before against the outgoing chief minister in District Six and lost, won this time around beating Haydn Hughes, the son of the former Anguillian leader and veteran politician.
The three members of the newly-formed DOVE party led by businessman Sutcliffe Hodge failed to get the nod of the electorate – with Hodge picking up a mere 58 votes, while his colleagues retired Methodist Minister Dr Clifton Niles (24) and businessman George Kentish (28) votes fared even worse in the general election.
The economy, job creation, infrastructural development and good governance were among the main issues a lengthy election campaign, spanning a little over 12 months
Approximately 11,000 people were registered to vote with 7,974 casting ballots on Wednesday.
Chief Minister -designate Banks is expected to announce his cabinet shortly after meeting with Anguilla’s British Governor Christina Scott later n Thursday.