St. Kitts PM seeks 5th consecutive term in elections
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (AP) — Prime Minister Denzil Douglas on Monday was seeking his fifth consecutive term leading St. Kitts and Nevis, competing against an alliance of opposition factions seeking to unseat his administration.
Douglas is the Caribbean’s longest serving leader, first coming to office 20 years ago. The 62-year-old prime minister is leading his governing Labor Party in Monday parliamentary elections against Team Unity, an opposition coalition led by veteran politician Timothy Harris.
Harris is a former minister in Douglas’ Cabinet who left the government about two years ago along with then-Deputy Prime Minister Sam Condor to form their own political party.
Harris and opposition candidates have accused Douglas’ administration of autocratic tendencies and making poor economic decisions, among other charges. They have vowed to lower the cost of living, remove a value-added tax from foods and medicine, and create some 2,000 new jobs.
Douglas’s party says his government has steadily improved St. Kitts economy with debt restructuring and an economic recovery program monitored by the International Monetary Fund. They say their leadership has improved national pride and boosted the tourism industry, partly with a citizenship-by-investment scheme that has lured foreign investors.
Teams with the Caribbean Community, Organization of American States and other groups are observing Monday’s vote. There are roughly 36,000 registered voters on the tiny islands with a tourism-based economy and a high rate of public debt.
Last week, the London-based Privy Council ruled that Monday’s elections in St. Kitts and Nevis must be held on constituency boundaries set before Douglas’ government attempted to change them in recent weeks.