THE VALLEY: Victor Banks led the Anguilla United Front (AUF) to a landslide victory in last week’s general elections, winning six of the seven seats at stake and ensuring that the incumbent Anguilla United Movement (AUM) did not win a single seat in the British Overseas Territory.
Banks, who won the Valley South constituency, is the island’s new Chief Minister.
“It is a significant victory for the Anguilla United Front,” he said following the election. “We were able to win six of the seven seats and this is the first time this has happened…since 1980. I believe it is an indication that the Anguilla United Front has been able to communicate its message to the people of Anguilla.”
Banks, a former finance minister, said that the outgoing Hubert Hughes government was not assertive in disseminating its platform.
“They claimed to have had a plan for Anguilla…and over the past four years you did not see any evidence of the plan,” he said. “Things actually got worse.”
Both the AUF and the AUM contested all seven seats in the April 22 elections that was observed by a six-member team from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and the Mediterranean.
The lone seat that was not won by the AUF was captured by independent candidate, Palmavon Webster, who held off a challenge from incumbent representative for District One, Othlyn Vanterpool of the AUF and the new AUM leader, Dr. Ellis Lorenzo Webster, a first-time candidate in Anguillan politics.
Two former government ministers in the 2010-2015 Hughes administration – Social Development Minister Jerome Roberts and Public Works Minister Evan Gumbs – both failed to win their seats, losing to lawyer Cora Richardson Hodge and Banks.
Also winning for the AUF were first-time candidates, Cardigan Connor, a former English country cricketer and Evalie Bradley, a retired former civil servant.
Connor defeated lawyer Kristy Richardson-Harrigan of the AUM by a margin of 389 to 313 and Bradley secured an upset victory over AUM newcomer, Patrick Hanley, polling 398 to 388. Curtis Richardson of the AUF defeated Haydn Hughes, the son of Hubert Hughes.
The three members of the newly-formed DOVE party, led by businessman Sutcliffe Hodge, failed to garner the support of the electorate. Hodge won only 58 votes, while his colleagues, retired Methodist Minister Dr. Clifton Niles (24) and businessman George Kentish (28), fared even worse.
The economy, job creation, infrastructural development and good governance were among the main issues highlighted during the election campaign, which spanned more than a year.