St. Kitts – Nevis Electoral Reform Launch
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
May 06, 2009 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis is on the final leg of the electoral reform process.
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas informed the nation on Monday that the process which began in August 2006, now awaits the report of the Constituencies Boundaries Commission which began in August 2006.
“We are aware that the Constituency Boundaries Commission has been appointed by His Excellency the Governor General and that the Commission has been meeting,” said Dr. Douglas, who noted that during the consultations on Electoral Reform the people agreed that there was need for greater equity among the constituencies in St. Kitts and Nevis.
He said he has been informed that the work of the Constituency Boundaries Commission is not completed.
“I am told that the iniquities in the boundaries need to be corrected. In St. Christopher 8 for example, we have 4,193 voters registered in February. In St. Christopher #7, we only have 2,291. There is a need to look at the situation in all of the other constituencies both in St. Kitts and in Nevis and corrections made before the election date is announced,” said Dr. Douglas.
“Like you, I am looking forward to the outcome of the deliberations of the Constituency Boundaries Commission for I am anxious to ring that red bell,” he said.
The Electoral Reform Process was informed by a White Paper that was laid in the National Assembly.
Extensive consultations were held with nationals, political parties, business organisations, trade unions and other non-governmental organisations throughout St. Kitts and Nevis. Similar discussions were also held with nationals in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the United States Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.
Parliament has amended the National Assembly Election Act to give legal effect to various improvements in the entire system.
“We can now boast of a brand new electoral system fully computerised, and a National Identity Card with a photo, that will ensure nobody could vote in your name and that you get the Government you want and the Government you deserve,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who stressed that electoral reform is another part of the change that his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Government is implementing.
“We could not agree to disenfranchise any of our nationals. We could not agree to take away the right to vote from a person who was born here but left to go overseas, who continues to save here, who continues to support their family here, who come here every year to celebrate our festivals, and who purchase homes here for their retirement. Much blood was shed for the right to vote and the Labour Party and this Labour Government will not arbitrarily take away the right of any Kittitian or Nevisian to vote,” said Prime Minister Douglas.