By: Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 4, 2018 – Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis who live overseas and have enjoyed the right to vote since 1984, will soon lose that right in the next general elections.
The Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government has tabled in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, an amendment to the National Assembly Elections Act to impose a residency requirement for a national to be eligible to be registered as a voter.
The National Assembly Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2017 given its first reading on March 28, seeks to amend Section 37A, replacing the expression “ordinarily resident on the registration date” with the words “ordinarily resident for at least six months before the registration date.”
Another proposed amendment to the National Assembly Elections Act is a change in the First Schedule which gives Commonwealth citizens from only Caribbean countries or islands, the right to be registered and vote in an election.
It is proposed that the present one year residency requirement will be changed to “a continuous period of at least three years before the registration date.”
Another amendment provides for the enumeration of voters.