Proposals For Electoral Reform To Be Brought Shortly Before Parliament
Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 23, 2016 (SKNIS): According to Attorney General Honourable Vincent Byron Jr, who is the minister responsible for electoral matters, “there will be coming into Parliament within a short time proposals for there to be a reform process” with respect to elections.
While updating the country with the latest information with regard to the electoral office at the prime minister’s press conference this week (April 20), the attorney general said that the question of electoral reform involves a number of factors including if the current voter’s list is properly constituted, the need for a proper enumeration process to register people where they live, whether citizens living overseas would have to be resident to be able to be active participants in the voting process, and the issue of the realignment of the constituency boundaries, which is presently before the court after a challenge to the boundaries report that “was part of a very traumatic period in our history” that reached all the way to the London-based Privy Council.
However, Honourable Byron said that there needs to be a legislative framework for these reforms to happen and to initiate the process. He indicated that the question of electoral reform is a constitutional issue “involving all aspects of society and it would be open to the citizenry to be involved in the process.”
The minister responsible for elections highlighted that there are a number of problems with respect to the electoral process that were inherited from the ousted Douglas-Administration and that have to be addressed by the present Government, but that the electoral process at the moment has been restored under the current Elections Act.
He said that the investigation to look at the electoral office where there had been a break-in is still ongoing but that since June 1, 2015, the office has been working on a regular basis. He pointed out that under the new Supervisor of Elections, Elvin Bailey, “every month there has been the publication of new registrants and the process of voter registration and the objection process have been conducted on a regular basis.”
“In January of this year , January 31, as per the National Assembly Elections Act that governs this process, the annual register of voters was published and there have been subsequent objections to that list where voters on the register can object to those who they say are not properly registered and hundreds of people have been objected to,” the Attorney General said, while noting that the “process of objection hearings has been ongoing and the process has been working properly” with the assistance of a number of appointed registration officers to assist with the process.
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