SKNLP Issues Official Statement Responding to Statement Made by Supervisor of Elections
The St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party has issued an official statement addressing the video-taped address by Supervisor of Elections relating to the Electoral Process.
The statement read as follows:
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party categorically rejects the video-taped “Statement from the Electoral Office on the Electoral Process” that was issued by the Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Elvin Bailey and broadcasted by the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS) on October 28, 2019. The statement, which claims to be “setting the record straight to the general public on matters and activities relating to the Electoral Office” is highly deceptive as it obfuscates rather than clarifies the truth and the facts of the realities taking place in the execution to the duties and responsibilities of the Supervisor of Elections and the officers and staff of the Electoral Office in accordance with the stipulations of the National Assembly Elections Act and the Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The statement that was issued by Mr. Bailey has only served to further clarify what the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has been saying about the Supervisor of Elections for some time – that Mr. Elvin Bailey has been appointed to assist the Parties in Government in subverting democracy and disenfranchising opposition supporters.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has thoroughly analyzed the official statement and would like to state at the outset that it takes no issue with the Supervisor of Election’s quoting of the law. The law exists in electronic and hard copies for anyone to read. What is at issue and problematic is the Supervisor’s systematic denial of the opposition parties and their supporters of their rights and privileges.
In January 2018, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, like all other political parties, made objections to the inclusion of certain names on the Register of Voters.
All of the objections made by the Labour Party were refused a hearing while objections made by other parties were heard and used to remove the names of Labour Party supporters from the Voters’ Register.
While it is the law that persons whose names have been objected to be served notice about their objection, it is patently false that all of the persons objected to have received notice. Quite to the contrary, it is factual that most persons objected to did not receive any notice of objection.
It turns out that almost zero percent of persons objected to, made an appearance at the objection hearing. This is because not many persons who were objected to actually received notice of an objection to their registration. We are requesting that Mr. Bailey provides the data on that.
As a corollary to the preceding point, none of the persons who are resident overseas ever received notice of an objection to their name. As a consequence of that, the Electoral Commission advised the Supervisor of Elections that any overseas voter who appeals his removal from the list should have his name put back on the list. The Supervisor of Elections is free to publicly deny this fact.
The law also requires that once a decision is made by a registration officer to remove someone’s name ( ie. allows an objection), the person objected to should be notified of the result. It is also factual that very few persons, if any, have been notified about their names been removed. Most persons only became aware when they checked the voters list of when someone informs them that their name isn’t on the list. The Supervisor has failed to make that fact clear. In fact, he continues to oversee an operation that systematically denies voters notice about their removal from the list.
The Supervisor mentions that the law allows members from the general public to attend and witness objection hearings. While this is true in principle, the public is never made aware of the dates of the objection hearings. Not even the persons objected to or the opposition parties know when these hearings are held.
This is a deliberate practice that has been supported and orchestrated by the Supervisor of Elections. The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is requesting that the Supervisor indicate in which media have notices of objection hearings been published.
In June 2019, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party wrote to the Supervisor requesting copies of the Objection Registers which outline the details of the objections and the corresponding hearings. To date, the Supervisor has not responded to the letter. More recent correspondence has been written in that regard.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party was forced earlier this month to write to the Supervisor objecting to the Electoral Office’s decision to prevent our legally appointed Scrutineer from coming to the Electoral Office to carry out his legal responsibilities. In other words, the Supervisor of Elections has given instructions to the staff to prevent the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party from being able to scrutinize the work being done at the Electoral Office.
Without the possibility to monitor and scrutinize of the Lists produced by the Electoral Office, the process is left open for potential abuses and illegalities to take place such as the illegal registration of persons of other nationalities brought into the Federation specifically for this purpose.
The statement that was released by the Supervisor of Elections by no means offers any clarification of or provides redress to the legitimate concerns that have been expressed by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party. The Supervisor continues his deliberate attempt to confuse and frustrate the electorate, particularly the supporters of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party in a very transparent attempt to control who is allowed to register to vote and where they vote. These appalling practices cannot continue. The outrageous offenses that are being committed by the Electoral Office go against the principles and tenets of good governance and democracy upon which our Federation was established and do not bode well for the conduct of free and fair elections in which all of our citizens are given the opportunity to elect the government of their choice.