NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS — Mr. Oaklyn Peets, the new Supervisor of Elections for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, made his first official visit to Nevis on November 11, 2022.
According to the new Supervisor of Elections who assumed the position on November 01, 2022, though he has hit the ground running since, his visit to Nevis is in preparation for the impending local elections on the island.
“I have come across to Nevis in order to meet with key stakeholders to ensure that the logistics and all strategies are put in place to ensure a smooth, fair and fine election. The local Nevis Island [Assembly] Election is very eminent and because of that I have decided to meet with all of the stakeholders.
“I have since met with all the members of each political party. I have also met with the Returning Officers, the Registration Officers and we worked out issues which have been challenging in the past, and I have given them the assurance that I will do my utmost best to ensure that a level playing field is established as a point of departure for every single political party.
“It is true that they have been reminiscing, they have been bellyaching particularly those in Opposition that they are at a disadvantage or they see themselves as being at a disadvantage but I have allayed their fears because it’s my intention to ensure that the principles of democracy are seen to come alive and to exist not only in the Electoral Office but in the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis,” he said.
Mr. Peets stated that the election in Nevis will serve as a marker for changes.
“This local Island Election will be the starting point, and going forward I will ensure that the processes and the institutions of government reflect in their entirety the principles of a true democratic nation.
“It is my desire to continue to be the best I can and to ensure that I walk middle of the road instead of be seen as taking sides with one party over the next,” he said.
Meantime, Mr. Peets said he also wants to ensure that those involved in preparing for elections are compensated fairly.
“To organise for election is a herculean task. There are so many things you have to put I place. You have to get it right. There is no room for error but it is my view and based on what has been transpired by those with whom I have met, the Electoral Office and the people who assist in ensuring that elections are held, whenever they are held, they are not treated the way they would like to be treated.
“I have given them the assurance that I will do whatever I possibly can to ensure that every single individual who work so tiringly in the process is given some fair compensation so that they will be encouraged to continue working whenever elections are called,” he said.
In response to the timeliness of election results for a small population, the new Supervisor of Elections said changes would have to be made to the existing legislation.
“Legislatively and traditionally, it has been like that and it would continue like that until the appropriate legislation has been put in place to make the necessary change by way of amendment.
“I am willing to do whatever I can. There should be some electoral reform very shortly so all of that would be incorporated in the electoral reform,” he said.