160,000 TO VOTE

Over 160,000 Saint Lucians are registered to vote in Monday’s general election said to be the tightest ever political race in the country in recent times.

The exact figure quoted to The VOICE by a reliable source puts the figure at 160,425.

Political campaigning for Monday’s general election has now come down to the wire with the final public meetings planned later today by both the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and the United Workers Party (UWP). The ruling SLP will be at Desruisseaux, Micoud and the UWP will amass in Cul-de-Sac, Castries.

One pollster has pronounced the contest a dead heat while another has given a convincing win to the SLP.

The poll which was published by Caribbean Development and Research Services Inc. (CADRES) of Barbados noted that among the 1000 persons interviewed between the 20 and 23 of last month the SLP had a one percent lead over the UWP in committed voters, 34 percent to 33 percent with 30 percent of “uncertain voters.”

The poll further states that while the election was “too close to call” with the SLP having a “momentary advantage” the UWP appeared to have momentum on their side.

The SLP has since disputed the findings of the CADRES poll stating that its own poll conducted last month by regional pollster, Don Anderson puts them comfortably ahead in 10 of the 11 seats in which they are leading and that the UWP is comfortably ahead in three of the four seats in which they are leading, with two seats that are too close to call.

The SLP claimed that the Anderson poll indicated that “the best scenario for the SLP is 13 – 4 and the worst case scenario is 11 – 6”. The party further states that the Anderson poll puts it well on the way to victory on Monday.

Another interesting aspect of the CADRES poll was its conclusion that UWP leader Allen Chastanet and SLP leader and Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony were equally preferred with only a three percent gap separating them. But it said Chastanet had doubled his support among “Uncertain Voters” while Dr. Anthony had slipped.

Meanwhile the camps of both the SLP and UWP yesterday confirmed that tomorrow will be a day for their candidates to be in their respective constituencies campaigning and doing the final preparations for Monday. No major rallies are planned.

The Labour Party will be in Desruisseaux today to launch its candidate for the area, Guibion Ferdinand. It will be making a final push to sway voters toward its candidate who is going up against Chastanet.

Both men are vying for that seat for the very first time. Chastanet became the UWP’s candidate when Arsene James, the holder of that seat in parliament for two terms, relinquished it last year. It was only last month that he made the ceremonial move of passing the torch to Chastanet.

Meanwhile in the Cul-de-Sac area the UWP will be pitching for two of its candidates namely Mary Isaac and Guy Joseph. The constituencies they represent are shoulder to shoulder geographically, namely Castries South and Castries South East.

The campaigning, as short as it has been, has generated much controversy from the secular to the religious and even now is still clogged in dispute.

The Private Sector Council of Saint Lucia is making its voice heard having written to the Prime Minister calling on him to follow the long established tradition of inviting independent international observers to observe the general election.

“Some are predicting a close call and we would not wish anyone to question the results of the elections and not have a recognized and independent party such as the OAS and CARICOM Election Observers to verify the conduct of the polls. We therefore take this opportunity to urge that you move with dispatch to invite the traditional international observers of elections to observe the general election in St. Lucia,” the Council stated.

The Royal St. Lucia Police Force meanwhile has cancelled the leave of all police officers as of 6:00 p.m. Sunday until 8:00 a.m. Tuesday.

Police officers are advised to refer to the operation order and deployment plan which is available at the nearest Station or Department.

They, along with firemen/women and correctional officers voted yesterday at polling stations in Castries and Vieux Fort. Reports were that there was a heavy presence at both locations.

The Voice