By Steve Thomas
Observer Nevis Editor
(Basseterre, St. Kitts) – The head of the People’s Action Movement has strongly criticized the Government Electoral Reform process as “a farce that has been orchestrated to legitimize a fraud on the people of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis,” according to a press release.
According to the statement, Lindsay Grant, political leader of PAM, said the confirmation process now underway does nothing to rectify the fault identified with the voters list which is that many persons are fraudulently registered in constituencies where they do not and have never resided.
The release states: “The fraud is quite glaring and gave examples of the fact that two constituencies, namely Constituency No. 3 and Constituency No. 6, have only had new registrants in the double digits while others like Constituency #2 have had hundreds of new registrants just over the last three years.”
Mr. Grant added to the charges.
“This strongly suggests that the Government is attempting to flood competitive constituencies with its supporters to dilute the local vote in those areas while paying scant attention to its traditional strongholds,” Mr. Grant said. ”These actions undermine the very system of constituency representation and are exactly what are being legalized now with a system, which does not require any proof of a valid qualifying address in a constituency. The initiation of a system of confirmation overseas in consulates and embassies will only entrench the lawlessness.”
This action removes any chance of even limited independent oversight of the process and amounts to a blatant attempt to steal the next election in broad daylight, the release stated.
On Jan. 16, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas outlined the government’s reform process.
According to a government press release, “Prime Minister Douglas said the new law mandates the issuance of a national ID card which shall be used among other things, the purposes of voting in an election in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
“This is a direct response to the recommendation to provide a mechanism that identifies each voter and prevents impersonation on polling day. We have made sure, as requested by the results of the consultation, that each voter is given a unique identification number, and an ID card with modern security features,” said Dr. Douglas, who pointed out that the new law mandates the cleaning of the voters list by calling for a confirmation of all registered voters.
“All these issues will now practically come to an end. This confirmation process is a very thorough process intended to get the dead names and the duplicate names where they are off the list,” he said.
Dr. Douglas who has responsibility for election matters, issued an order for the confirmation of all previously registered voters between Dec. 27, 2007 and Sep. 30 2008.