Minister Richards offers explanation to voting population
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – THE Opposition St. Kits-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) believes that the time has come for the list of registered voters to be placed online, where it would be convenient to see and object.
SKNLP’s Deputy Leader, Marcella Liburd made that pronouncement while speaking with reporters on Friday (May 24) at a protest her party held outside the Electoral Office to raise awareness on issues at the agency.
Among the numerous issues highlighted by the party were the continued malfunctioning machine, removal of names from the voter lists, and the failure to place the revised monthly list at a location where it could be visible by the public.
But Liburd, when asked by a reported how she felt about the list being placed online, noted that it is an initiative that her party would support.
“…that is part of our agenda going forward,” she noted.
She however argues that the posting of the list is still important for the elderly.
“I believe that they should be out there somewhere, because there are some persons who can’t use the social media, especially the older people. You don’t want to discriminate against them.”
Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Three, Konris Maynard lashed out at the Government for the failure of the machine.
He suggested that the Government should purchase a new machine to continue in the registration of eligible voters.
“In a modern democracy where we have one of the highest rates of telecommunication penetration, highest rates of IT penetration, you want to tell me that the Government cannot get a machine fixed for the lasts six to eight months or so?” asked Maynard.
He continued: “It does not take eight months to procure to print id cards. You right now can go and order a machine to print IDs right now. It is a simple thing.”
Contrary to what Liburd and Maynard claimed, Acting Prime Minister Shawn Richards denied reports that no registration is taking place at the Electoral Office.
In a national address on the eve of the protest, Richard said, “There has been a lot work that has done by the Supervisor of Elections, Registration Officers and the Staff at the Electoral Office to ensure that the system is sound and that citizens qualified to vote are registered. This process takes place every day and is ongoing.”
Minister Richards noted that a report from the Supervisor of Elections, Elvin Bailey, points to ongoing registration.
Bailey reported that for the period January and March, 514 persons were registered, “a 270 percent increase over the 191 persons registered at the same time last year. For April, another 142 persons were enrolled”.
Additionally, Richards noted that there were 174 transfers recorded since January.
“In his Quarterly Report issued on the 26th of April 2019, Mr. Elvin Bailey, the Supervisor of Elections, stated that in January the printing of the National ID cards was suspended due to technical difficulties, which by the end of March had not been resolved. This has been explained to those who have attended the Office to register by staff there. And the Supervisor of Elections himself has issued a number of press releases to the media, such as the Democrat, the Labour Spokesman and the Nevis Observer, as well as, he has made regular appearances on radio shows to inform the public of the work of the Electoral Office.”
The Minister reminded that “citizens should know and understand that the law is that you can only vote if you are on the Register of Voters. Once you are on the Voters Register at any election, you need to have a Government issued ID, like a Passport, or Social Security Card, or a Driver’s License, or the National ID Card, to prove your identity and vote. Once that is done, you cannot be denied your right to vote.”