St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) The results of elections for the Deputy Leadership of the People Action Movement have not been officially declaring following a controversial balloting process over the weekend. The initial results saw long-time Co-Deputy Leader and Minister of Government Eugene Hamilton ousted in favour of newcomer Vernon Connor, who stood as a candidate for the party in the General Elections last year.
In the past members were given a ballot on which they cast their vote for two persons to serve as Co-Deputy Political Leaders. WINN FM understands however, that this past weekend they were given two ballots and were expected to write one name on each. The process is being questioned as there was no way to monitor whether someone would use both ballots to vote for the same nominee twice. Some reports suggest that based on the numbers, it appears that some persons did just that.
Contacted for a comment Wednesday, Party Leader Shawn Richards was cautious, saying only that the voting process was being examined and until then the status quo remains.
“What I would say to you is that at this particular point in time, there is no change in the Deputy Political Leaders of the People’s Action Movement,” Richards told WINN FM.
“We had Caucus and Convention on Saturday and Sunday of last week. Indeed, there was the voting process which would have taken place to election the different administrative officers for the party. The position of Deputy Political Leader it is the only position in the party which requires two persons. There were some discrepancies with the voting process of the Deputy Political Leaders and as such, that is being looked into. Until there is a determination on that there has been no change,” the PAM Leader and Deputy Prime Minister said.
WINN FM has received reports that Mr. Hamilton may have ruffled some feathers at a caucus last month, when he suggested that some members were stuck in the past and not recognizing the realities of the new political landscape.
One insider told WINN FM they believed that the incident may have led to the attempt to oust Mr. Hamilton as co-Deputy Leader, and they are convinced Mr. Hamilton was blind-sided by the move. They said no elected member of the executive had ever been replaced by a non-elected member.
WINN FM was able to reach Mr. Hamilton on Wednesday who declined to speak about the results of the election but said that he respects the caucus’ right to speak. He also told WINN that he encourages and supports the right of youngsters to serve and pursue positions in the party.