ST. KITTS-Opposition party accuses government of seeking to disenfranchise voters

Douglas being interviewed outside of parliament (WINN FM photo)

The main opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) Wednesday accused the coalition Team Unity government of seeking to disenfranchise nationals by amending legislation governing the registration of voters.

The SKNKLP said that the Timothy Harris government has tabled an amendment to the National Assembly Elections Act to impose a residency requirement for a national to be eligible to be registered as a voter.

konris maynard
Konris Maynard

The SKNLP said that the amended legislation, which had its first reading on March 28, seeks to amend section 37 A and replacing the expression “ordinarily resident on the registration date” with the words “ordinarily resident for at least six months before the registration date”.

Opposition legislator Konris Maynard said the government was intent on tampering with the electoral system instead of winning the hearts and minds of the voters.

“The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party does not believe in the disenfranchisement of any citizens,” Maynard said, as he spoke on a radio programme here Wednesday.

“This is all in an effort to disenfranchise voters who are already legally registered to vote and others who are presently eligible to vote in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Maynard, who noted that a Committee was appointed in 2008 to consult nationals here and abroad on the issue of electoral reform.

Maynard told radio listeners that there had been no prior public consultation by the government in the drafting of the National Assembly Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

“Given the type of behaviour that we have seen from this government, it is clear that the authorities will visit supporters of the government when they are at home and visit the known homes of opposition supporters when they are not home,” said Maynard.

“The government has realised that as a result of its growing unpopularity, they now have to resort to electioneering in the Electoral Office to disenfranchise voters. That is what is before the National Assembly.

“We in the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party stand firm that our nationals must be given that right to exercise their franchise and it should not be infringed. We will do all that we can and in our power and legal remit and work tirelessly to ensure that the rights of citizens, born, grew up, lived here and a native of St. Kitts and Nevis that the right to vote remains intact,” Maynard told radio listeners.

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