CaribWorldNews, BRADES, Montserrat, Thurs., Sept. 10, 2009: A public holiday was yesterday declared in Montserrat by Governor Peter Waterworth after the opposition Movement for Change and Prosperity party emerged victorious in an election that came two years earlier than constitutionally due.
It was an outcome that has occurred in every Caribbean nation that has held election in recent years. The outcome of the poll left the outgoing chief minister who called the snap poll in opposition in the Legislative Council.
When the results of Tuesday`s election were announced in the early hours of Wednesday morning, MCAP, led by Reuben Meade, secured six of the nine seats up for grabs, while former Chief Minister Dr Lowell Lewis and two other independents took the remaining seats.
Meade, who served as chief minister from 1991 to 1996, is expected to be sworn in as the country`s leader with his cabinet, once government business resumes. The other successful MCAP candidates are Easton Taylor-Farrell, Charles Kirnon, David Osborne, Colin Riley and Jermaine Wade.
Dr. Lewis, who led a coalition government with MCAP in the last Legislative Council, will join Donaldson Romeo and Victor James on the opposition bench this time around.
MCAP was the only party to have a full slate of candidates. The other parties to contest the election – the Montserrat Labor Party (MLP) and the Montserrat Reformation Party (MRP) – did not win any seats.
Dr. Lewis ran as an independent in yesterday`s election after his Montserrat Democratic Party (MDP) could not find enough candidates for the poll.
When his coalition with MCAP collapsed earlier this year as a result of lack of support for his decisions, he called for elections which were not constitutionally due until 2011.
The campaign had focused on Montserrat`s economy, which has been crippled by a downturn in tourism caused by eruptions of the island`s volcano, which became active in the mid-1990s and erupted in 1997, killing 19 and forcing permanent evacuation of the capital, Plymouth.
Voters complained that a lack of jobs was forcing young people to leave Montserrat. The current population of Montserrrat is roughly 5,000. Many live entirely in the northern part of the island because of the danger the volcano still poses in the abandoned south.