The Parliamentary Elections Office is confident that if elections are called any time soon it will be ready to facilitate and conduct it.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) and Voter and Civic Registration Officer at the office, Ferdinand Phillip stated this in a telephone interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper on Tuesday afternoon.
“We believe that we are ready. We are confident that as an office ably led by the Supervisor of Elections (Alec Phillip) should the elections be called that we would be ready to conduct an election and we think we have a motivated staff”, he said.
“We have a staff that understands the importance of what we are about and everyone is on board and they are working hard to achieve success,” he added.
Phillip confirmed that retired school principal Gretha Franklyn, who was attached to the Hermitage Government school, has been appointed to serve as an Assistant Supervisor of Elections.
Franklyn replaces the long-serving Ada Holder who resigned from the job earlier in the year in protest over the manner in which Governor-General, Dame Cecile La Grenade unceremoniously sacked eight of the fifteen Registration Officers.
Government Minister Nickolas Steele told reporters at the time that Dame Cecile took the decision on the grounds that they have passed retirement age and some of them are not resident in the constituency in which they were appointed to serve.
Information also surfaced that some of the Returning Officers who were kept on the job do not live in their respective constituencies and that some older ones were retained.
The PRO with the Electoral Office said that Franklyn took up her new position on April 3rd but could not confirm reports that the duration of her contract is for one year in the first instance.
A few years ago, Franklyn’s name had surfaced as a person that NNP was considering to approach to run for the party in the rural St. Patrick West constituency as a replacement for Education Minister, Anthony Boatswain.
Phillip told THE NEW TODAY that Franklyn is being trained to ensure that she is very well prepared to serve as needed if an election was to be called at any moment.
“She is being trained…at the end of the day persons come with their particular expertise, their “know how” but for the specific jargon and language of any organisation, persons need to be trained in that field.
“It’s just like with a teacher, somebody come from College, they are fiery, bright and so forth but when you see they begin to teach for the first time, there are certain specifics to that profession that they have to learn.
“It’s the same thing with the police force, same thing with the media and so on…there are certain specifics that you would not be aware of until you get it – that is our ongoing process with her also. We are getting her into how we do it at the Parliamentary office.
Phillip stated that the new Registration Officers are also receiving training in their field.
He said the training is being done by personnel outside of the office.
“We have persons coming out from outside of the organisation but not necessarily from out of Grenada because we do believe that in Grenada we have the necessary skills (and) expertise to do the training …so we have been utilising such.
“Training is an ongoing process because as you are aware amendments are always changing. Even as teachers, the day a teacher stops deliver the day they need to retire…in the same guide, the day that one of our ROs (Returning Officers) think that they have arrived, this is the day they will probably look for another job. So it’s always an ongoing process and they learn on the job site.
“We definitely believe that they will be ready because one of the things we must recognise, we do have RO’s who are being trained as if they are the new ones who would have come in. However, it is the Presiding Officers and the Poll Clerks and so on that are on the ground at the Polling Stations and so forth doing the work and these cadre of persons are still there.
‘We still have the pool of Presiding Officers who are highly trained also to choose from and even with them training does take place, especially as we get into the heat of an election. Training is ongoing because we do train our Electoral staff, our Presiding Officers, our Poll Clerks and so forth.
Political analysts are predicting the next general election to be called by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell sometime between the end of May and June.