Polling stations across St. Vincent and the Grenadines opened for a 10-hour period today as voters began casting their ballots for a new government.
Early morning heavy showers have given way to bright sunshine, as the 227 polling stations across the country opened at 7.00 am.
There are 43 candidates vying for the 15 seats in the Parliament with both the incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP) and the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) having candidates in all the constituencies.
The two other parties – the three -year-old Democratic Republican Party (DRP) led by former senator Anesia Baptiste, which is contesting six seats and the SVG Green Party which is fielding seven candidates – are not expected to make any significant impact in the general election in which Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is seeking an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in office.
Both Gonsalves and the NDP leader, Arnhim Eustace are predicting comfortable margins of victory in the election that is being observed by teams from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the 15-member CARICOM grouping.
“I expect that the Unity Labour Party will win the elections at some level comfortably and overwhelmingly. The anecdotal evidence on the ground points to a big ULP victory,” Gonsalves, 69, said, while the 70-year-old Eustace, an economist said “our polls say 11 seats… I am pretty confident about the results”.
The Electoral Department said 89,527 people are registered to vote in the election.
Both Gonsalves and Eustace took to the airwaves last night in a last minute bid to urge undecided voters into their respective camps.