NDP drops DaSilva; ’89 – ’98 candidate gets nod
From left: Phillip Jackson, Kirk DaSilva, Opposition Leader and President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Dr Godwin Friday, former parliamentarian Bernard Wyllie, the new NDP candidate for Marriaqua, and pharmacist and former NDP candidate Curtis Bowman.
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August 25, 2020

NDP drops DaSilva; ’89 – ’98 candidate gets nod

Former Parliamentarian, Bernard Wyllie is the candidate who will give the New Democratic Party (NDP) its greatest chance of winning elections in the Marriaqua constituency.

This is what Dr Godwin Friday, the party president told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, while commenting on Wyllie’s recent installation as the NDP’s candidate for the valley.

The announcement also comes a week after accountant, Kirk Da Silva received the majority of votes at the constituency council level ahead of three other hopefuls, including Wyllie, public servant, Phillip Jackson and pharmacist, Curtis Bowman.

“The New Democratic Party, we are about giving the people, the voters of this country, the best chance to change the government. They have told me in my walkabouts and in my various interactions with people, you’ve heard it all around that this is the time that they want change,” Friday said.

He added that it was his obligation and duty “to all of the people of this country, but also specifically the people who have been working on behalf of the various organs on behalf of the party in the constituencies to give them the best chance of winning the election”.

Since Wyllie’s selection, some persons have decried the process as being unconsitutional and not democratic.
But Friday says that it was in fact constitutional according to the two-stage process outlined in the Party’s constitution.

According to the constitution, prospective candidates are first nominated by the Constituency Division and then there is a ratification process by the Central Committee.

If a person does not receive three quarters of the votes at the constituency division level, the constituency division is not obligated to send forward only the winner to the second stage of the process.

When voting took place in the first instance, Da Silva received 15 of 29 votes while Wyllie received 8, Jackson, 4 and Bowman 2.

NDP supporters took to social media to express their displeasure with this outcome. A petition was also started to oust DaSilva and replace him with Jackson.

It was at this point that Friday and some colleagues, including party vice president, Roland Patel Matthews, and Nigel Stevenson, a senior member of parliament and representative for South Leeward went into the Marriaqua constituency to speak with the people.

And following these talks, he made the decision to send all four candidates forward to the second stage with the Central Committee.

He added however that all the other prospective candidates — DaSilva, Bowman and Jackson withdrew at various points of last Thursday’s meeting.

“Sometimes we make decisions that may not be popular with everybody but when I am satisfied that it is the right decision, I will do it and then I will explain to people who choose to listen to an explanation, but I can only do what I believe is right,” Friday said.

“You can never know a 100 per cent for certain whether the judgments you make in these circumstances is the absolutely correct thing but if I believe it to be correct, I will act in accordance with that and that is what I did and that is what the Central Committee was urged to do and that is what I believe that they did.”

Friday also noted that it was “quite clear” not only from this process, but from research done via a survey last year, that Wyllie was by far the most popular of the candidates.

He said his party conducted a survey “which indicated that he was by far the most popular of the four candidates that were vying at the time but elections were not being called then, so we said well, the candidates all have a chance to still continue to work”.

Friday said he knows that the Unity Labour Party has started motorcades in Marriaqua and he expressed belief that the choice by the people of Wyllie is the one that the ULP feared most as the candidate to oppose St Clair Jimmy Prince.

Wyllie, a former parliamentary representative for Marriaqua under the NDP administration, was voted out of office in 1998, when the ULP came within one seat of winning the 15-member Parliament.

General Elections in SVG are constitutionally due by March 2021.

The opposition leader said that his party has seven new candidates for the upcoming Elections, three of which are women and he said the overall team is “the best team that we put forward ever to win an election, to offer the people a chance to bring change they want”.

“That is my obligation and when I believe it to be right, I will act on the basis of that all the time and that is what I did in this case,” Friday said.