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Oliver Joseph vs Yolande Smith

Foreign Affairs Minister Oliver Joseph (l) – might not be on the ballot paper on polling day; Ambassador Yolande Smith (r) – has flown home from Washington to discuss a political role within the NNP

The ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell might be planning to install a new candidate in St David for the upcoming general election.

Inside sources told THE NEW TODAY that the island’s Ambassador to the United States, Yolande Smith is set to replace Foreign Minister, Oliver Joseph in the constituency which was once considered a stronghold of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The female envoy arrived on the island on Sunday for talks with the Prime Minister reportedly on a political role in the upcoming general election.

According to a well-placed source, Ambassador Smith was due to hold discussions Wednesday with both PM Mitchell and Minister Joseph.

She spoke of being confident that a deal has already been struck prior to the arrival of the Ambassador on the island to be the prospective NNP’s candidate for St David in the upcoming national poll.

She insisted that she would not rule out the possibility of a deal having already been reached between Minister Joseph and government for him to step aside and make way for Ambassador Smith in St David as the NNP candidate in the upcoming general election.

The NNP insider stated that the female diplomat flew into the island from Washington over the weekend as someone who is officially on vacation from her diplomatic posting.

“It’s a done deal unless something implodes – it’s pretty much a done deal. It’s interesting to see if Oliver (Joseph) resigns tomorrow.

“I don’t know how a man will willingly give up his seat unless they promise him something big or give him some cash.

I think it’s a done deal. Oliver is the only person who can wreck that train but I think it’s a done deal unless she (Ambassador Smith) changes her mind.

Maybe they’re paying him something or they promise him something that will make him happy.”

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According to the source, one of the things on the table in the discussions is a possible Senatorial appointment and position as a government minister in order to get Ambassador Smith to give up her job in Washington and get involved in frontline politics.

There have been regular reports in certain quarters in the country that St David is now considered as one of the doubtful seats for NNP in the upcoming general election.

Newly elected Political Leader of Congress, attorney-at-law Dickon Mitchell has already been announced as his party’s candidate for the seat in the national poll.

Prime Minister Mitchell has already served notice that he intends to make sure that the NDC leader loses the contest and stay outside of Parliament.

According to NNP insiders, the Prime Minister is determined to win all 15 seats like in 2013 and 2018 in the upcoming election and is prepared to replace candidates who are considered as vulnerable.

One NNP insider confided in THE NEW TODAY that Minister Joseph has performed with admiration as a Minister of government but is considered as “too politically lazy” and not engaged in the type of political work on the ground that is badly needed to win a contest with a resurgent Congress under Dickon Mitchell.

Aides have also quoted the senior government minister as saying that he is not happy with electioneering to sit in Parliament but is not against landing a position in the Senate and serving the government at a ministerial level.

Ambassador Smith is known to be from the Westerhall area in the St David constituency.

She has held many diplomatic positions with the Mitchell-led NNP regime which first came to power in 1995.

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