Female Attorney fears rigged elections

A female attorney-at-law has raised the prospects of Grenada not having a free and fair election at the next national poll widely expected some time this year.

Claudette Joseph – expressed fears about a possible rigged election

Claudette Joseph expressed the view in light of the recent unprecedented move by Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade to sack eight of the 15 Registration Officers with general elections already in the air.

According to Joseph, if there is not a Parliamentary Elections Office that is not susceptible to interference then the country will end up in a situation where it may not be able to conduct free and fair election.

The female attorney noted that the job of a Registration Officer is a specialised area to ensure that the electorate are registered in the correct Polling Divisions, and that there is no double registration of individual voters.

Replacements have been found for the Registration Officers who were given marching orders by Dame Cecile.

Joseph who was appearing on a radio programme that is produced by Civil Society Organisation said the new crop of Registration Officers will need time to be trained.

Government Minister Nickolas Steele told members of the media that he was informed by the Office of the Governor General that the affected Registration Officers were removed based on their age, while others were not residing in the constituency for which they were appointed.

However, Joseph said she has learnt that Registration officers are historically appointed under Section 29 (1) of the Representation of the People’s Act by the Governor General.

“I have looked through the Representation of the People’s Act and the various amendments, and I see no where in that legislation a provision that says persons must be of a specific age of 60 or younger,” she told the programme.

The female attorney said she did not see any where in the law a provision which says that the Registration Officers must reside in the constituency for which they are assigned.

There are unconfirmed reports that government was concerned that too many persons considered as activists of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) were hired by the Electoral Office to supervise the November referendum on Constitutional Reform.

The electorate overwhelmingly rejected all of the seven government-sponsored bills including the prized Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to replace the London-based Privy Council as the final appellate court in Grenada.

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