BASSETTERE, St. Kitts, Mon. Feb. 9, 2015: Team Unity’s Prime Ministerial Candidate, Dr. Timothy Harris is questioning why the country’s Elections Commission has failed to release the voters’ list even though federal election in St. Kitts and Nevis is now only a week away.
Dr. Harris said today that the voters’ list should have been released by January 31, the latest, ahead of the February 16th election. To date, no list has been made available even though Nomination Day was held this past Friday, 6th February.
The Team Unity Leader said this is a strategic move by the Dr. Denzil Douglas controlled Elections Commission to trample further upon the democratic rights of voters in the Federation since the ‘delay and rule’ tactic now means there will be no objection period as required by law.
Harris said voters should be outraged by this latest scheme by the government to retain power after 20 years of victimization. He said it is another blatant dictatorial move and a thwarting of democratic leadership by the ruling party. Dr. Douglas’ administration rushed a bill through parliament on January 16th to change the country’s electoral boundaries without any hearing or due process, an effort to create chaos and confusion.
“This expired leader has gone too far.” Electoral observers from the Organization of American States, CARICOM and the Commonwealth should urgently ask Dr. Douglas to produce the voters’ list for the February 16th election and, if produced now, leaves no time for objections.” Said Dr. Harris, calling upon Hesketh Benjamin, Chairman of the Electoral Commission to release the list now.
He added that the failure to publish a list is clearly a violation of the country’s electoral law and the implications now for the upcoming election is quite serious and disconcerting.
“In my view, Hesketh Benjamin has acted irresponsibly in delaying the publication of the Voters List.” “We must hold them accountable for any breach of the law,” said Harris.
Under the country’s laws, the election list should have been produced at the end of December 2014. The Annual Voters List should be published ahead of the election to give political parties 10 days to file objections.
“We are quite shocked and dismayed to be advised by the Electoral Office on Nevis that no such list had been published or would be made available to us. The basis, it appears, is that they are suggesting that because of the boundaries and the proposed boundaries changes and our court challenges, the list cannot be published. That is a blatant disregard for the rule of law and yet another gerrymandering tactic to sway the election in favor of the Labour Party. It compromises the integrity of the election process,” added Deputy Premier of Nevis’ ruling Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) and Team Unity candidate, Mark Brantley.