A glimpse at our First Parliament
March 24, 2006

A glimpse at our First Parliament

By oscar allen

The 1951 Elections marked the beginning of a new era in Vincentian politics. Mc Intosh who had carried on a struggle in Parliament for the underprivileged was eclipsed by the new stars in the political skies, some of whom were willing to attack British colonialism and the old plantation order. Mc Intosh was also weakened by a split within the Working Men’s Association.

{{more}} George Charles had carried through with his promise to defeat Mc Intosh in the elections for the uncomplimentary remarks which, he alleged, Mc Intosh had made against him.

The Eight Army (of Liberation) won the 1951 General Elections in fine style, beating all other candidates in the eight seats. George Charles ran in the constituency of Central Windward and gained 1634 votes in comparison to his opponents, St. Aubyn Cato and George Lewis who gained 277 and 215 votes, respectively.

The major figures in the Eighth Army of Liberation were George Charles, Ebenezer T. Joshua, Herman Young, Rudolph Baynes, Julian Baynes, Evans Morgan, Sam Slater, and Clive Tannis.

The Eighth Army campaigned heavily on the promise of land to the landless. They intended to redistribute lands by breaking up the large estates. To them the Administration was top heavy and needed streamlining. The Labour Party, led by Mc Intosh, had lost its appeal; and one writer says that Mc Intosh appeared to have “capitulated to the Aristocratic embrace”. The once disenfranchised population thought that their time had come to have a say as to how the country should be administered, and supported the Eight Army at the Polls.

The structure of the St. Vincent Legislative in 1951 was as follows: there were eight elected members, two officials, three nominated members, and the Administrator who presided over the proceedings and had a casting vote. The Executive Council, where in essence the real power lay, was made up of three elected members, two officials, a nominated member and the administrator. It is quite clear from this that the elected members were outnumbered and were virtually at the mercy of the administrator and official and nominated members.