The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has commissioned a private independent poll to select its candidate for the rural St Andrew North-west seat for the upcoming general election.
A party spokesman told THE NEW TODAY that the data has been handed in to Congress by the pollster and it is currently being tabulated in order to arrive at the suitable candidate.
Former civil servant Phillip Alexander and Gloria Thomas have been locked in a bruising battle in the constituency for several months with neither of them showing signs of being prepared to yield to the other.
Alexander was the defeated NDC candidate in the 2018 general election when he received 1511 votes as opposed to 2007 by the winner, Social Development Minister Delma Thomas.
Describing the battle for candidate selection in the constituency as “a healthy situation across there”, the Congress official said that the person to get the nod will know very soon.
“We screened both candidates – they are both worthwhile candidates and it’s going to come down to some polling. We have conducted some polling and the results of that are being tabulated.
“Once we have the final data from the polling then of course we will go to the relevant bodies which of course will be the branch and give the branch the recommendation and wait for the branch to approve and then once that is approved (then) take it to the NDC executive also.
“The data is being assessed and I guess in due course, once we have the final data we will then take it to the relevant process which is the branch because they have to give the initial say and then the NDC will approve the branch’s recommendation.
The NDC spokesman told THE NEW TODAY that the poll was conducted by “somebody on the outside” and not an internal thing done by Congress itself.
There are reports that the pollster is living in the south of the island and is known to have done polling over the years.
Although the Congress official declined to give the name of the pollster, he said that “an external poll was commissioned for all of our candidates where there was high competition”.
On the selection of the candidate for the St Patrick east constituency once held by former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, the spokesman said it is still one that is going through the process for final selection.
“We haven’t come up with a final decision with St Patrick east as yet,” he added.
Asked about potential candidates, he said: “We have seen several potential candidates but of course none has been finalised. We have several persons who have come forward to say they are willing to contest,” he remarked.
Asked if one of the persons is a former high-ranking officer in the Ministry of Finance, the official said: “I can’t confirm that at this time. I can’t confirm names at this point in time – any names will be done via an official press announcement. Once the name is not out the stage for that is still going through the process.”
The spokesman disclosed that a deliberate decision was made to only announce candidates for St Andrew South-west and South St George this week but in the coming days “we will announce a few others.”
NDC has now selected nine of the 15 candidates to contest the upcoming general election – Dickon Mitchell (St. David); Tevin Andrews (Carriacou and Petite Martinique); Claudette Joseph (Town of St. George); Joseph Andall, (St. Patrick West; (Quinc Britton (St. Mark); Kerryne James (St. John); Jonathan La Crette (St. George North West); Lennox Andrews (St Andrew South-west) and Andy Williams (South St George).
The other constituencies without official candidates at the moment are St George South-east, St George North-east, St Patrick East, St Andrew South-east, St. Andrew North-west and St. Andrew North-east.
The newlook Congress party under Dickon Mitchell is seeking to grab power from Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who has led his ruling New National Party (NNP) to back-to-back 15-0 victories at the polls in 2013 and 2018.
The aging 75-year old Grenadian leader has served notice that he is going for another clean sweep in the upcoming poll in what he promised for the third time will be his last venture in electoral politics on the island.