The main opposition New National Party (NNP) in Grenada swept all 15 seats in the Legislature to return to power in an historic vote on Tuesday.
The NNP, of former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, resoundingly thrashed the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, confirming polls that had predicted that the party, which had lost the 2008 elections to the NDC, would handily return to power.
Tuesday’s massive victory also meant that Mitchell, 65, became the first political leader in the “Spice Isle” to win all 15 seats in parliament twice. His party had done so previously in the 1999 general elections.
Thomas’ NDC had won the 2008 general elections 11-4.
Tuesday’s poll showed that the NNP was able to attract most of the 62, 146 eligible voters.
Mitchell, who was expected to be sworn in as the new prime minister on Wednesday, hopes his party’s landslide victory will help to unite the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
“As I watched your faces through the campaign, I am even more deeply committed that all of us must be a united family,” he told jubilant supporters at the Tanteen Playing Field on the outskirts of St. George’s, the Grenada capital.
“I have accepted the awesome responsibility that you have placed on my shoulders … Me and my team,” he added, accepting the challenge with “the greatest humility”.
“I have asked Almighty God, ‘What have I done to deserve this?” Mitchell said. “This is not a Keith Mitchell victory, it is your victory.”
He said he wants his legacy of 30 years in public life to be “that I have done all I can to unite the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique”.
The outgoing NDC administration had sought to portray itself as a united party, despite bitter infighting that resulted in the dismissal and resignation of senior cabinet ministers, including former tourism minister and foreign affairs minister Peter David, and foreign affairs minister Karl Hood.
In a statement, the NDC said tersely that it “wishes to congratulate the NNP on their victory.”
On the stump, Thomas, who, obviously, lost his own seat, had told supporters that the NDC should be re-elected to continue the work it had been doing in education, health, governance over the last four and a half years.
He said after four and a half years, the NDC had brought back integrity to governance in Grenada, reminding voters: “We have a great responsibility, and we have to take the politics seriously.”
But Mitchell and the NNP said the NDC was “a dismal failure,” stating: “They want to blame everybody but themselves.
“The NNP prefers to be part of a new emerging global space where you can only succeed if you improve your standards to be part of that space,” he said on the campaign trail.