Wednesday 2nd February, 2005 Posted: 14:31 CIT (19:31 GMT)
The formation of a new political team known as the People’s Democratic Alliance under the leadership of George Town MLA and Speaker of the Legislative Linford Pierson was announced this week.
The PDA will also slate the candidacies of Berna Thompson Cummins, Gary Rankin and Pastor Steve Blair on a common ticket in this May’s general elections.
All four of the PDA candidates resigned from the United Democratic Party in December because of a rift with incumbent George Town MLA and Cabinet Minister Frank McField.
Many in the UDP’s George Town Committee Executive also resigned, including district party chairman Donnie Smith, whose name is listed on the PDA’s press release as a contact for further information.
Stressing that the PDA is an alliance of independent candidates and not a political party, Mr. Pierson said the group could nevertheless branch out.
“We are prepared to align ourselves with candidates from other districts who share the same political philosophies and principles in forming a government that the people can be justly proud of,” he said.
Mr. Pierson indicated that he had spoken with numerous constituents in George Town and found out many were unhappy with the party system.
“They want the freedom to vote for the individuals that they think will best represent them,” he said.
The PDA will be unveiling its manifesto within the next two weeks, Mr. Pierson said, hinting at one part of it:
“We need to maintain a reasonable, if not good, working relationship with the United Kingdom,” he said. “Right now, it is at a very poor ebb, and we need to repair it as best we can. It certainly doesn’t help us to be in an adversarial relationship with the UK.”
In October, 2003, Mr. Pierson announced that he would not seek re–election for his Legislative Assembly seat, citing health reasons. He also resigned his ministerial post at that time, and became Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Pierson said events changed his mind about running.
“This decision was changed for me by Hurricane Ivan,” he said. “I feel it is my duty to the people who have supported me all of these years to offer my services again.
“At this time, I would not feel right in retiring – and I couldn’t enjoy my retirement – with so many people suffering. The people’s interest comes first,” he said.
Donnie Smith, who has organised Mr. Pierson’s campaigns in the past, will apparently be involved in the PDA’s campaign, although he said nothing had been formally announced in that regard.
Mr. Smith indicated that the alliance was not affiliated with any other party or candidate.
“We are not for or against any other candidate,” he said. “We are an independent group that is for the people.”
Bodden Town independent candidate Sandra Catron said she was not worried about the new alliance affecting her chances of election.
“I think it just helps us independents,” she said. “We’re serious about what we’re trying to do for the people. It is not just about a power struggle.”