BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Dr. Terrance Michael Drew was sworn in Saturday as the fourth Prime Minister of this twin island Federation after leading his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) to victory in Friday’s snap general election.
The SKNLP won six of the 11 seats contested in the election held three years ahead of the constitutional deadline, with the former coalition partners, the People’s Labour Party (PLP) of outgoing prime minister Dr. Timothy Harris winning one seat, the same as the People’s Action Movement (PAM) while the Nevis-based Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) won all three seats on the sister isle.
Governor General Sir Tapley Seaton is expected to name the four other legislators to the 15-member Parliament.
Dr. Drew, a Cuban and US trained medical practitioner was administered the oath of office by Justice Trevor Ward in the presence of the Governor General. In a brief statement afterwards Prime Minister Drew said that he will “soon” be naming his Cabinet.
“It is indeed a pleasure to be given the opportunity by the people of St. Kitts and Nevis to be your prime minister. I also recognize that it is an office that I do not own and I am only here at the behest of the people and I also know that I am here for a limited time.
“During the time I am here I vow to work closely with the members of my Cabinet that will be named shortly to work with those who are in public position in government and most of all to work with our citizens”.
Drew has promised to extend a “hand to our Federation sister island, Nevis so whatever issues they face we can solve and to bring the Federation closer together.
“I look forward over the next five years to serving the people of St. Kitts-Nevis with distinction, with respect and the principles of good government, transparency, integrity so that our nation can be counted among those that are of the best tradition,” he told the audience that included family members, diplomats, members of the clergy as well as other victorious members of the SKNLP.
Drew entered elective politics in July 2013, when he was selected as the new SKNLP candidate for St. Christopher Eight and has participated in the past two general elections.
He became party chairman in 2018.
Prior to his entry into politics, in 1998, he went to Cuba to study medicine where he graduated with first class Honours from Institute Superior De Ciencas Medicas in Santa Clara, Cuba, returning home to work as a general practitioner at the Joseph N. France General Hospital.
In 2010, Dr. Drew was awarded a full scholarship to pursue specialty study in Internal Medicine at the Paul Foster School of Medicine in Texas, graduating in 2013.
Meanwhile, the prime ministers of Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica have sent congratulatory messages to Drew, with Prime Minister Gaston Browne indicating that the “long historical ties” between the two governing labour parties “are well established and known.
“The emergence of the trade unions and the political parties which they spawned, more than eight decades ago, cause our populations to invest their faith in Labour’s continued governance. Despite interruptions from time-to-time, the Labour Movement throughout the Anglo Caribbean is fully established as a superior choice for leadership.
“I express the applause of the entire nation of Antigua and Barbuda, and look forward to collaboration between our two states and governments in the regional and international issues which require joint action in the immediate future,” Browne added.
In a message posted on his Twitter account, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit extended “heartiest congratulations: to Prime Minister Drew and “best wishes for the success of his administration”.
All three countries are members of the sub-regional Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).