Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 23, 2008
Members of the electorate that live overseas will be able to confirm their registration at St. Kitts and Nevis‘ Embassies and Consulates.
This announcement was made on Tuesday by Minister of State for Information Honourable Nigel Carty during an interview with SKNIS. The news of the confirmation process for qualifying overseas-based voters comes one week after Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas reiterated his promise to protect the franchise of citizens resident abroad.
“We will be looking at the important population districts in North America, the United Kingdom and the United States Virgin Islands to facilitate the confirmation of our nationals who are located in those areas,” said Minister Carty.
Minister Carty indicated that the confirmation process of overseas voters will be done on a reasonable but tighter time schedule based on a number of factors among which are cost consequences. He suggested that a three to four month confirmation period is more practical for this exercise.
The Minister of State stressed that operational details are still being finalized and promised that an announcement will be made at an appropriate time as to the relevant places, dates and times where persons abroad can confirm their registration. He stressed that during reform consultations, Government was mindful not to disenfranchise overseas voters who have been able to exercise their democratic right from as far back as 1984.
However, Minister Carty explained that the electoral process was reformed to modernize the system and as such loopholes are being closed. One instance of this is outlined for first-time voters living abroad, who wish to vote in future elections, the next constitutionally due by 2009.
“The law that we have put in place properly articulates this,” the Minister revealed. “If John Browne is not on the voters list, he is living overseas but is entitled to vote because he is a citizen [by birth or decent] then we are saying to John Browne that he has to come home (to St. Kitts and Nevis) to register to vote and in that process establish some location in St. Kitts and Nevis at which he has residence.”
Locally, accommodations are being made to decentralize the confirmation process giving persons in rural communities an opportunity to confirm their registration in a more convenient way. The new confirmation stations in St. Kitts and Nevis are expected to move from one community to another on a reasonable time schedule thereby expediting the process and making it easier for persons with reduced mobility or resources.
All registered voters are encouraged to confirm their registration at the earliest possible convenience. Office hours at the Electoral Offices in St. Kitts and in Nevis have been extended to accommodate locals. The new hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. The office will now also open on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.