By Loshaun Dixon
A senior government official is promising wholesale changes to the electoral process in St. Kitts and Nevis and has pledged that the government is committed to electoral reform.
In an interview on Winn FM’s Operation Rescue Government Minister Eugene Hamilton indicated that they are still steadfast in seeking electoral reform and that the process has somewhat begun.
He added that one of the major challenges that ought to be tackled and agreed upon has to deal with voter registration and the registering of overseas voters.
“If you go back to many decisions of the court you will find my name appears in relation to many of those decisions that have served to change the conduct of the registration and registration process,” Hamilton said. “There are many cases done by his Lordship Justice Belle. I have had cases with all of the registration officers. These have served to direct person how to register to vote.”
Hamilton revealed that the new Supervisor of Elections Elvin Bailey was already involved in resolving some registration shortfalls.
“As we speak… the new supervisor of elections is engaging in a process that is already addressing those issues the issues of people registering where they live,” Hamilton explained. While I agree with you, there will be a need for electoral reform and quickly.”
“The key issue among all of the issues is residential qualification.Should someone that lives abroad be able to register to vote?”
Hamilton also identified a lack of transparency as another shortfall that occurred in the most recent General Elections.
“On Election Day things were so clouded in the way they were done by the former administration and the former supervisor of elections, that I would go to St. Peters in an area where we normally have three polling stations, only to find that there were four.”
He added it caused a problem for him to find persons to go to a fourth polling station which never existed and were never informed of the existence of any additional polling station.
“You cannot conduct elections in this cloud it should be fair and fair to all the participant this is a democracy and in a democracy you expect that the institutions that govern…and are supposed to uphold democratic traditions that are transparent in the way they are administered and the way conduct business.”
Additionally, Hamilton insinuated that the lack of transparency led to the Supervisor of Elections failing to report the election results days after voting had been completed and reminded that it was an offence.
“It is no surprise,therefore,that the supervisor of elections then, failed for days to even provide the election results the elections were won,” Hamilton commented. “It tells you how much corruption was in that government at that time. That actually is a fundamental breech of the law. He is required to do it for which he can be charged and may still be charged because he has breached his responsibility.”
Hamilton also spoke about transparency in the electoral commissions
“I have trips to the commission and spent endless hours with the commission on issues with which they and I agree, but they will find reason not to do it,” Hamilton said. “It was really a period where there was no transparency and everything was done in a clouded fashion.”