Sticking a Pin on… before we vote

The Constitution provides for the prorogation of Parliament in given circumstances. It does not provide for pre-empting the voter or pirating the vote in any circumstances! Section 32 of the Constitution provides for a system involving registration, entitlement and the privacy of the voter. Notice the tie back to rights and freedoms concerning individual expression, conscience and liberty, broadly defined.

These arrangements must be followed before and in order that we elect a Parliament and form an Executive. So, before Parliament and before Cabinet, the people must vote.

The Executive is given responsibility for “the business of government” and ministers must take the Oath of Office before beginning to function. Nothing contained in that Oath or within the responsibility to run the government gives any Office-holder the right to seek to determine what happens with the registration of voters or any other aspect of the work of the Electoral Office. Where citizens become enraged by what they perceive to be unfair and improper interference in that Office, problems will arise.

For clarity, if you wish to be in Government, you must fairly contest the General Elections; receive a majority of the votes; enter the Parliament (to pass laws for the peace, order and good government of Grenada); form the Executive (to run the business of government); take the Oath of Office (to honour, uphold and preserve the Constitution).

These are not in fine prints!

Unfortunately, there are other ‘prints’ surrounding the holding of General Elections. Some such prints have no lawful status, but are conceived, published and pursued by persons in the engine-rooms of political parties, ‘slicing and dicing’ voters’ lists, as one set of tactics for winning the elections.

This practice which occurs in democratic systems is not dissimilar in intention or result to the use of arms to win government under revolutionary systems!

Recently, a number of Registration Officers got something in print!

Relatedly, so it seems, the Deputy Supervisor of Elections put her conscience in print to the Governor-General. Then the NDC rushed to print its views on the matter which was followed by unconvincing words printed by the regime, as proxy for the Governor-General.

Supposedly, the Supervisor of Elections could be having little sleep trying to decide if he too should put something in print! After all, both Mr Phillip and Ms Holder must have been privy to the same information, i.e. told the same things. Is it that the latter’s conscience was so affected that she opted to resign, but that the former is fully at peace with that information?

It is hardly likely that one would choose to forego income based only on sympathy for others. So then, a printing opportunity awaits Mr Phillip. Let not the ghost of Albert Abraham (Elections Supervisor, 1976), attend his sleep!

This leaves the issue of ‘Silence of the Society’ which should not be assumed to mean that judgment would not be pronounced at the right time. Where are the voices that once shouted at Tillman to “open we Parliament”? Will those same voices shout at Keith, even in jest, “doh touch we votes”?

We are also left with the conflict in politics between cause and character. Political parties campaign promising many good things, but they sometimes deliver many unworthy things. The Revolution based itself on patriotic causes, until the character of key players abandoned the cause and chose catastrophe!

Thirty-four years later, in these fair and spicy isles, character is acting up again hell bent on achieving personal causes. And the ordinary Grenadian pays the price, even before we vote!

William Joseph

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