Supervisor of Elections
I write to thank you and your staff for your roles in our just ended General Elections; as well as to draw you attention to my grave concerns.
Reflecting is necessary, both in victory and defeat, and as one of the losing debutantes in the just ended 2018 General Elections, I am compelled to offer some perspectives.
Let’s begin with the Parliamentary Election Office (PEO). It will always face challenges in its quest to run the perfect national elections. The reality is much needs to be done if honesty and fairness means anything to the Parliamentary Electoral Office (and more importantly, to the government elected by the voters) therefore, the PEO cannot ignore the many loopholes that open the doors to dishonesty and cheating.
No doubt about it, the Representation of the People’s Act ought to be reviewed urgently and strengthened if fairness is to be ensured.
My biggest concern is the verification of the voter registration list – the legitimacy of many of the voters. Are some of these people really from the said constituency? Or are they allowed to register there, ensuring that a party enhances it numbers?
The final list is posted just a few days before the elections and that does not allow adequate time to properly verify who is who. The night before elections, I received a list of 25 people who were granted transfers – there is absolutely no way I can verify who is who.
In the eight polling divisions of the Constituency of South St. George, my agents reported dozens of people being allowed to cast a
vote without showing a registration card – just claiming to be that person. Others of Caucasian origin, and Chinese looking people – and even some of African descent who claimed to be citizens of Grenada, used their passports as identification.
Many of these people were unknown to agents and the community in which they voted. None of my agents recall the officer in charge seriously investigating any voter who showed up without the voter registration card, and considering how hectic the pace is on Election Day, it is impossible to pursue it at that time.
Going forward the one solution ought to be that everyone who wants to vote must show a voter registration card – and nothing else. If you don’t have a card you must not be allowed to vote.
The objective of the Voter Registration Identification card is a demonstration of your registration and qualification to vote.
Elections are not held overnight, they are called every five years.
And if anyone loses his or her Identification card, then go get a replacement. The Electoral Office must have the equipment to provide the voter card up to a week before the election date.
Here is a very shocking experience which occurred in Polling Division One using the Spring Government School: A woman voter left the room with the ballot and later returned with one of the candidates and the ballot – AND WAS ALLOWED TO PLACE IT IN THE BOX. The question is, “Why did the Returning Officer allow the woman to leave the room with the ballot and then return?”
Clearly, the competency of the workers ought to improve. The question could be asked, “How much of that was experienced on election day?”
The greatest threat to an honest election is the Government’s Citizenship by Investment program. Who are these people? Only the government knows who they are because the laws do not allow publication of their names when granted citizenship.
In the Constituency of South St. George, many of the 1500 Citizenship by Investment passport holders showed up to cast a vote in our national elections – and all Grenadians ought to be gravely concerned about it, and the increasing numbers that are likely in the coming years.
One may argue that the passport is a legitimate form of identification but the million dollar question is, “Why didn’t those voters go to the Parliamentary Office and secure the Voter I.D?”
Today, more than ever, everyone says how much he or she loves Grenada but seems to ignore decency and fair play.
I look forward to seeing you and your office addressing the many issues of concern – including championing a review of the Representation of the People’s Act.
Thanking you in advance
Defeated NDC Candidate in the 2018 General Elections!
CC: Her Excellence Governor General of Grenada
CC: Prime Minister Rt. Honorable Dr. Keith Mitchell
CC: Attorney General Sir Lawrence Joseph
CC: His Lordship – the Bishop of St. George’s
CC: US. Embassy, Grenada
CC: British High Commission Office, Barbados
OECS Secretariat, St. Lucia
CARICOM Secretariat, Guyana
Commonwealth Secretariat, London
President, Grenada Seventh Day Adventist Conference
CC: President Pentecostal Assemble of Grenada
CC: President : Grenada chamber of Industry & Commerce
Political Leader National Democratic Congress