Montserrat gearing up for elections on Monday

Political parties and independent candidates are this weekend engaged in a final push for votes as Montserratians go to the polls on Monday to elect a government that political observers say could well result in the formation of some form of coalition.

There are 35 candidates, including nine independents, seeking to get the nod from the estimated 3,000-strong electorate in the island’s post-volcano single-constituency, nine votes-per-person system.

The ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), which is contesting its second general election, is doing so without Premier Donaldson Romeo, who was ousted less than 24 hours after he had announced the November 18 date for the election.

Independent candidate

While Romeo is contesting the polls as an independent candidate, the PDM will be led by the outgoing Communications, Works, Energy and Labour Minister Paul Lewis.

Another former PNM member, Shirley Osborne, who served as the Speaker of the outgoing Legislative Assembly, is also contesting the election as an independent candidate.

Apart from Romeo, another former head of government, Dr Lowell Lewis is also contesting Monday’s election as an independent candidate.

Tight race

Apart from the PDM, the other parties in the tight race include the Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) that had been in power prior to its defeat in the 2014 election. The party is no longer led by Reuben Meade, the former premier who bowed out following the party’s defeat in the general election. MCAP is now led by former Agriculture Minister Easton Taylor-Farrell.

The Montserrat United Labour Party (MULP), led by former MCAP member, Peter Queeley, and the  Montserrat National Congress (MNC), led by former PDM member, Gregory Willock, are the other parties seeking to control the volcano-ravaged British Overseas Territory for the next five years.