St. George’s, April 13, 2012 – Former Works’ Minister Joseph Gilbert has received the nod from the people of St. Patrick West to be their NDC candidate at the next general election.
Gilbert, who is also a former Deputy Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, won the seat in 2008 as part of the NDC’s 11 – 4 election victory.
“I want to sincerely thank the residents of the constituency of St. Patrick West for their show of support and their confidence in me,’’ Gilbert said Thursday night following a meeting of the NDC St. Patrick West Constituency Branch.
A small, rowdy group of less than 10 persons from one area of the parish attempted to disrupt the meeting when voting began on a resolution endorsing Gilbert as the candidate to again represent St. Patrick West in general elections that are due by next year.
The attempted disruption failed as Gilbert received the overwhelming backing of a majority of Constituency Branch members in the endorsement exercise in which no other candidate was nominated.
A victory chant, “We want Joe! We want Joe!” resonated in the room at the St. Patrick R.C. School after Gilbert picked up in excess of 70 of just over 100 votes.
“The ayes have it. The ayes do have it,’’ a jubilant Gilbert later told the media.
MP Gilbert expressed “delight at receiving the endorsement and I look forward to fighting the next general election and retaining the seat as the representative for all the people of St. Patrick West.’’
In the resolution adopted at the meeting, the constituents said Gilbert had “performed with great distinction as our elected Member of Parliament for the last 45 months since comfortably winning the seat for the National Democratic Congress in the July 8, 2008 election.’’
They added that, among other things, “MP Gilbert has demonstrated great fortitude, courage and personal sacrifice in pursuing the resuscitation of the government-owned Mt. Reuil Estate, which has now become a major source of productive employment for many persons in the constituency.’’
In January, Gilbert was dismissed from cabinet by Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, who is also MP for St. Patrick East.
It is an open secret that the Prime Minister and NDC Leader, who is in Colombia attending a meeting, would prefer not to contest the next election with some of his current MPs, including Gilbert.
Among the names of potential new candidates who have surfaced is Senator Franka Bernardine, the Education Minister. She says she is “still considering’’ whether to enter the race as a first-time candidate.
Gilbert joins four other party members whose candidacy has been endorsed by their constituency branches. They are Denneth Modeste of St. Mark; George Prime of Carriacou and Petite Martinique; Dr. George Vincent of St. John; and Glynis Roberts of St. George South.
The names of all five nominees will be submitted to the NDC’s national executive, which makes the final decision on who represents the party as candidates in general elections.