By Floyd French
(Basseterre, St. Kitts) – Ms. Sarah Mardenborough said there was no intent on her part to challenge the integrity of the confirmation process. The 84-year-old said she did not remember she had already confirmed in Basseterre when she tried to confirm in Half Way Tree.
On June 12, St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas informed the National Assembly and the nation of what he believed were attempts by opposition and its supporters to challenge the integrity of the new voting system.
“Such was the most recent case when a lady from Half Way Tree who had confirmed her own registration in Basseterre early in the process, turned up in Half Way Tree in the company of Mr. Grant, the Leader of the People’s Action Movement, to confirm her registration a second time in her own daughter’s name, who is abroad,” the Prime Minister said.
At a PAM press conference on June 17, Mr. Lindsay Grant challenged the Prime Minister on the facts of that case. According to Mr. Grant, the elderly woman in question stopped him and asked for a ride to the confirmation centre in Half Way Tree and at that point, he was assisting her through the confirmation process.
“Naturally, I undertook to assist the 85-year-old voter through the process. It turned out she had already reconfirmed and had no need to repeat the exercise,” said Mr. Grant.
The Prime Minister never named Sarah Mardenborough, but Mr. Grant revealed her name at his press conference.
Ms. Mardenborough told the Observer that she was very disappointed in the Prime Minister’s comments and that she did not remember she had registered in Basseterre .
“Why did he do that?” Ms. Mardenborough asked. “I feel so bad at my age.”
According to Mrs. Mardenborough, this is the first time she is voting in St. Kitts. She has lived most of her life outside the Federation. She left St. Kitts for St. Croix in 1962 and finally settled in Miami for most of the time she spent away from home.
The mother of seven and grandmother and great-grandmother of 42 and 32 respectively, said she was encouraged by a neighbour to confirm her registration. She said she left the confirmation centre after she was told she had already been confirmed.
“The woman at the confirmation centre asked me if I was Sandra Mardenborough. I said I am Sarah Mardenborough, Sandra is my daughter and [I] left.”
The Prime Minister in his statement to the National Assembly said the lady was trying to confirm in her daughter’s name.
Mr. Grant, meanwhile, felt it was improper of the Prime Minister to use a “dear old lady” to score political points.
Ms. Mardenborough said she has encountered difficulties in her community since the unfortunate lapse in her memory. She said there were people at the centre and in the community calling for her arrest.
“I’m an old woman I’m not studying with that. He can do whatever he wants with it,” she said when asked about how she felt about the Prime Minister’s action.