Grenadians today voted to maintain the status quo, with prelimary results showing the New National Party (NNP) of prime minister Dr Keith Mitchell claiming another clean sweep and its second straight victory at the polls.
By the time all of the ballots were counted on Tuesday, Mitchell’s NNP had captured all 15 seats at stake, making it the third time he had achieved such a feat in electoral politics of Grenada.
The 71-year-old Mitchell, who previously led the NNP in a clean sweep of the polls in 1999 and again in 2013, immediately after repeating the feat, called on the leadership of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to partner with his government in charting the way forward for the tri-island state.
“It feels good, the people of my country has shown the level of confidence in the way I have governed, it is a humbling experience,” Mitchell said after the preliminary results showed that the party had swept all the seats in parliament.
“Whatever achievement we have had I first have to give thanks to Almighty God and the people of this country,” he said, adding that the election was the “most stress free I have ever had in my 34 years in politics.”
Earlier, a very confident Mitchell had expressed strong satisfaction with the turnout and the way the poll was progressing.
“This is calmest I have been,” he told reporters immediately after casting his ballot early on Tuesday in the St George North West constituency.
“Last [election] I could not really sleep [but] I slept very well last night. I am feeling really good,” Mitchell added, while predicting that his incumbent NNP, which won all 15 seats at stake in the 2013 election, would maintain the seats it held in the capital, as well as on Carriacou.
However, NDC leader Nasim Burke said he was not prepared to count his chickens before they hatched, even while suggesting that the NDC could spring a surprise at the polls.
“We are not in the business of counting our chickens . . . [but] we are quite optimistic,” Burke told reporters, adding that “we have done all we could have done to prevail”.
“The job is still in progress and if we get our people out, the results will be in our favour,” he told reporters as voters were making their way to the polls.
Today’s election was described as generally peaceful and incident free. However, the Parliamentary Electoral Office (PEO) was forced to quell early fears that inferior ballot papers were being used in this the ninth general election since Grenada attained political independence from Britain in 1974.
Many voters had called into the Grenada Broadcasting Network complaining that there were two or three different types of ballot paper in use.
However, the PEO spokesman Ferdinand Phillip categorically dismissed the reports.
“It is one quality of ballot paper that was made available to the general public and that is being used today,” Phillip assured, adding that “I heard the callers use the word flimsy, and definitely the ballot paper is not flimsy.
“It is of a good quality material and once it is folded properly persons cannot see for whom you voted. We want persons to be aware of that,” he stressed.
He also pointed out that agents of the political candidates were present at polling stations “observing everything that the presiding officer sees.
“Whatever he sees, the agents will see, every single thing,” the PEO spokesman emphasized.
The 264 polling stations across the country opened at 6 a.m. (local time) and closed at 5 p.m.