As a general election, constitutionally due in May 2020 – just seven (7) months away – draws nearer, the two major political parties, are still scrambling to solidify their slate of candidates, and campaign teams on both sides, are grappling with more tension and apprehension than they dare to show the Dominican public.
In the Kalinago Territory, for example, the withdrawal of Dr. Worrel Sanford has created a void in the United Workers Party (UWP) camp, which, for the time being, may have given an edge to the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) in the Salybia Constituency.
On Friday 12th April, at the St Cyr Resource Centre, barely four (4) months ago, an enthusiastic Dr. Sanford officially informed the constituents of Salybia of his decision to contest the seat. However, in a private meeting on Friday 16th August, he confirmed to his campaign team that he had withdrawn from the race.
A member of the campaign team told Dominica News Online (DNO) that after serious consideration, Dr. Sanford decided to step down as the UWP candidate for the Salybia Constituency, since, to continue would not be in the best interest of his family.
According to the campaign official, Dr. Sanford had previously voiced his concerns with reference to the impact of politics on his family; nevertheless, the confirmation deflated the spirit of the team. He further stated that a large number of constituents were already gravitating towards Dr. Sanford because of his charisma as a leader. He said this was paralleled by the fact that supporters of DLP were showing displeasure with the new candidate for the Salybia Constituency by throwing their support behind Dr Sanford.
With this confirmation of Dr. Sanford’s withdrawal, the UWP Salybia Constituency Association’s search for a new candidate now goes into high gear.
DNO was informed that Anette Thomas-Sanford, former candidate for Kalinago Chief, Dr. Theodore Thomas, General Surgeon (Thomas-Sanford’s brother) as well as a young lawyer, have all expressed interest in replacing Dr. Sanford. However, a final decision has not yet been made.
Meanwhile, perhaps while not as big a hurdle as the loss of a candidate, the Dominica Labor Party (DLP) Salybia Constituency Association is also experiencing its share of turmoil.
Dominica News Online (DNO) has learned that the campaign manager for Cozier Frederick, the party’s candidate in that constituency, may have been forced to resign due to internal pressure.
Sources close to Frederick’s campaign have informed us that Louis Hill has resigned as campaign manager because many DLP supporters, including former Salybia MP, Kelly Graneau, are upset with Hill because he campaigned in the Kalinago Chief election for Anette Thomas-Sanford who is viewed as being affiliated with the UWP. Thomas-Sanford’s husband is former UWP deputy political leader and candidate for the Salybia Constituency, Claudius Sanford. Graneau is reported to have said that he was not satisfied with Hill’s performance as Frederick’s manager.
Hill also lost his bid to sit on the Kalinago Council and it is being speculated that he may be a political liability to Fredrick’s campaign.
Beginning this week, both parties will be analyzing these developments as they strategize and refocus their campaigns ahead of the general election.