Challenges and consequences.

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Once upon a time in Nevis, there was a referendum on secession.  The result was an almost unanimous vote in favour of separation from the great Trinity of islands, but the results were brushed aside by the Rt Hon Chief Minister, Robert Bradshaw.

Fast forward to 1978 when Dr Kennedy Simmonds refused to accept the result of the election within the constituency in which he contested, and challenged the results in the High Court.  The challenge was upheld when the Judge determined that voter intent on the spoilt ballots was clear and declared many of them valid and countable.  There were enough spoilt ballots to change the outcome of the election, and on the recount, Anthony Robiero, the Labour candidate yielded the seat to Kennedy Simmonds.

But instead of allowing Dr Simmonds to take his seat in Parliament, the then Premier,Lee L Moore refused to hold a Parliamentary sitting and eventually called a snap election in 1980.  The result of that election was that PAM won 3 seats, Labour won 4 and NRP took the two Nevis seats.  PAM and NRP formed a coalition which gave Dr Simmonds the Premiership and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

In 2011, former Hon Vance Amory (inOpposition ) refused to accept the results of the Nevis Island Assembly Elections in which NRP was declared the winner, 3 seats to 2.  The CCM challenged the results in the St John’s district and eventually, the Judge ordered that the seat be vacated, leaving each party CCM & NRP with two seats each. The sitting Premier, Joseph Parry, Instead of calling a by-election for the vacated seat called a full NIA election which the NRP lost.

In recent times, there have been election challenges in Antigua, St Vincent and Trinidad just to name a few.

All election challenges have come AFTER the results were announced.

A few nights ago, one of the candidatesin the US election refused to saywhether the election results would be accepted.In other words, any outcome other than a win would be an unfair decision of a rigged system.   It is the first time the results of an election are being disputed before the election happens. This is historic.

To be sure, there are places where election results are known before voting takes place, and there are places where the election results are set aside or where an incumbent blatantly refuses to yield office.  But these are usually one-party states or dictatorship, not cutting edge democracies.

Elections really do bring out the best and the worst in us. They seem to be a necessary evil.