BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – DEPUTY Political Leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) Mark Brantley is charging that while the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP)-led administration stalls at calling a by-election, it is busy padding the St. John’s Voter’s List.
Brantley spoke exclusively with this media house about a number of issues for which he still has concerns.
August 27, 2012 saw the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) ruling – as had a lower court – that the election of Brantley’s opponent – Hensley Daniel - in the St. John’s Constituency was null and void. And according to Brantley, a by-election should be held within 90 days of the reading of that judgment.
Four days following the reading, Pastor Leroy Benjamin demitted office as the Supervisor of Elections and close to two weeks later the Registration Officer for the Nevis St. John’s Constituency – Bernadette Lawrence – tendered her resignation from that post.
Both had been severely criticised by the court for not executing their duties as prescribed by law.
To date there has been no official announcement indicating that those positions have been filled.
The CCM Deputy Leader says with regard to the Supervisor of Elections post, he doesn’t understand why close to a month after Benjamin’s resignation the position has yet to be occupied.
“I feel that there is a lot of speculation going, and speculation which I think is rightly so because I see no reason why the Supervisor of Elections position has now been vacant for nearly a month. Why on earth it is taking so long to have a supervisor appointed is a matter that I don’t know. Clearly, there are several competent Kittitians and Nevisians who are available. I know that there have been names suggested to His Excellency.
“It is a matter for him – in his own deliberate judgment – to appoint the individual, so I really don’t know what the delay is. That delay has affected a number of things because the lists need to be prepared, the electoral machinery needs to get ready, and so I share the concern that some may be expressing that the delay appears inexplicable.”
The conclusion to which Brantley has arrived is that “the NRP does not wish to have an election; they wish to delay for as long as possible”.
He said his party is aware of padding of the Voter’s List in the constituency which he represents, noting that the CCM is seeking addressing that issue via the Objection Process and would be taking additional action.
“We are aware that they are doing their best to pad the Voter’s List in St. John’s where, since this judgment, over 100 voters have been added to that List. So they are doing everything. They continue to register people from all over, wherever they can find them. But we are dealing with that through the Objection Process and we intend to take stern legal action. But the reality is that they are seeking to buy time.”
Meanwhile, the people of Nevis remain in a state of limbo – Brantley laments – and advised that those who have to power to expedite the relevant processes should do so without delay as the atmosphere in Nevis is becoming more and more charged.
“It is quite obvious they are seeking to buy time, so we continue to respectfully call upon His Excellency to carry out his duty under the Constitution. But we also urge that the mode in Nevis is becoming increasingly hostile, increasingly tense and that he ought not to abandon the people of Nevis. He is the Head of State for St. Kitts and Nevis and ought not to leave the people of Nevis without a remedy.
“The people have waited now for 15 months to elect the government of their choice. How much longer must they wait? So, I continue to call upon all the holders of these high offices to carry out their duty and conduct themselves in a way which demonstrates that the country is important to them and stability in the country is important to them.”