A one-time Unity Labour Party prospective candidate was given the nod by New Democratic Party delegates in the Marriaqua primaries on Tuesday evening.
In a surprising quirk, Kirk Da Silva, a founding partner at KDLT Chartered Certified Accountants, was voted as the most preferable candidate of the 4 contenders in the August 11, race. When the dust settled, Da Silva emerged triumphant with 15 of the 29 votes cast.
Phillip Jackson, a widely favored choice, secured 4 of the delegates’ affirmation while longtime politician and former area MP Bernard Wyllie won 8 votes. Curtis Bowman, the NDP’s last offer to their Marriaqua constituents, only managed 2 votes.
Da Silva is a fabled son of the Marriaqua soil whose penchant for studious work elevated his lifestyle over time. His sundry achievements include service as a banker, certified fraud examiner specializing in forensic accounting and as a one-time lecturer at the St. Kitts based Eastern Caribbean Institute of Bankers.
Da Silva, the second to last of 11 siblings, also presided – at different times – over the affairs of non-profit organizations such as St. Vincent Jaycees and Rotary Club of St. Vincent.
In the lead up to the 2015 general elections here the, still practicing, accountant threw his name in the Unity Labour Party’s hat for consideration to be named as candidate.
His offer was publicly rebuffed when Party Leader Dr. Ralph Gonsalves tangibly recognized the individuals “who have helped us to be here 14 years later as the government.… I want to thank … all the 36 persons who have been candidates; those who have won, those who have not won and those who offered themselves to be candidates even though they did not become the candidates.”
At the time Prime Minister Gonsalves was addressing a rally held to celebrate his ULP’s 14th year as government of SVG. Dr. Gonsalves presented everyone else – even one-time MP Conrad Sayers who was said to have grown visually impaired – with autographed books taken from his library.
PM Gonsalves’ generosity noticeably bypassed Da Silva and Godson Cain, another rival for the Marriaqua candidacy on the ULP’s 2015 ticket. Incumbent St. Clair Jimmy Prince was ultimately selected via his Party’s practice of “organized democracy” one source reported.
Needless to say Tuesday evening’s results have caused something of an upset amongst NDP supporters. One of whom spoke to us while demanding anonymity.
S/he said, “29 delegates decided that the country didn’t get the youngest possible candidate for the NDP. 29 delegates decided that the nation didn’t get a chance to have Phillip Jackson, a brilliant and creative mind, serve the country as an elected parliamentarian. And the leadership of the NDP wasn’t strong or smart enough to help to guide the delegates in the right direction.
“Kirk Da Silva is solid. It so happens that what the nation needs most at this time is a mix of younger people and women – the two largest sections of the Vincentian population.
“The NDP has a big tent, an all-embracing tent, but that doesn’t mean that each person who wished to run for the ULP and who was rejected by the ULP, should join the NDP simply to get that chance to run like Kirk Da Silva did.”
Meanwhile Tyrone James, the NDP’s General Secretary of 3 years standing, remarked, “the results reflected where the delegates went. The next step is ratification by the Central Committee.
“I don’t know what the people wanted to say but what I’ve seen is that the delegates, in the process, identified Da Silva with 15 votes.”
A total of 3 candidates are awaiting the Party’s highest decision making organ’s endorsement. This would then permit them to join the NDP’s 2020 ticket.
They are East St. George’s Laverne Gibson-Velox, Marriaqua’s Kirk Michael Da Silva and possibly the only contender for the North Windward seat, Shevern Lewis-John.