Do not think for a minute that if the judgement on the elections petitions are returned in favour of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and the NDP ends up with 8 seats and the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) is reduced to 7 seats that the NDP will walk into government the next day.
That is the message that former Prime Minister and founder of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) Sir James Mitchell is hoping party members and supporters will understand.
“Pay attention to the Constitution of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the powers of the Prime Minister, the powers of the office of the Prime Minister. There’s no way, if NDP wins, that tomorrow we walk into government. Please forget about that. Get that clear,” Sir James said as he appeared earlier this week on the ‘OMG in the Morning’ interactive programme hosted by Dwight ‘Bing’ Joseph and aired on BOOM FM.
Sir James highlighted 3 scenarios: a win for NDP; NDP loses and Prime Minister Gonsalves and his government win; and NDP goes to appeal.
Sir James said that if NDP loses, it will be a political decision going forward. He said that it is not merely a question of the legal and constitutional process but above all it is about political choice.
“In other words, if NDP lose, it is a political decision and not a legal decision,” he said.
Sir James said he hoped that many people accept that appealing the judgement, if it is not returned in NDP’s favour, should not be the automatic response of the NDP.
“Forget about the laws… You must make a distinction between the legal situation and the political situation,” Sir James said.
The former Prime Minister further said: “Now, let me repeat, if NDP wins, is there a by-election to take place? The Judge cannot order a by-election. The Judge can only give judgement on the petition before him about irregularities.”
Now, if the irregularities mean that the elections were not won, there has to be a by-election. Immediately, if there is a by-election, the ball is in the court of one man – Ralph E Gonsalves. Not that I love Ralph but I know what the constitutional position is, and we’ve got to understand that.
Sir James said that the constitution prescribes certain procedures so it is up to Prime Minister Gonsalves, if he loses and he takes the initiative away from the NDP. He reiterated that if the NDP wins the initiative is still with Prime Minister Gonsalves.
Leader of the Opposition and NDP president Dr Godwin Friday has already stated that the NDP will appeal the decision if it does not win the election petitions.