St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party accuses elections supervisor of removing names of voters in defiance of court ruling
Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 26th 2017 – Supervisor of Elections, Elvin Bailey has been accused of illegally removing the names of Nigerian students, other Commonwealth citizens and nationals from the St. Kitts and Nevis Voters List in defiance of a high court ruling.
In May, then Resident Judge Marlene Carter ruled that an attempt by Team Unity/PAM supporters Mr. Rupert Earle and Mr. William Liburd to remove two Nigerian students and all Commonwealth citizens from the Register of Voters was “an abuse of process of the court” and that the Court does not have the jurisdiction to intervene in the registration process in the manner sought by Earl and Liburd.
In denying the application, Justice Carter referred to the ruling of Justice Ian Mitchell in the Nevis case, Mark Brantley vs Joseph Parry, in which Mitchell emphasised the importance of the notice provision with regard to objections of persons’ names on the Register of Voters and its vital function in the projection of the right to vote.
“The Supervisor of Elections has been removing the names of persons from the list without any reasons being given and without any publication of the names of the persons who have been removed,” Liburd said on Wednesday.
She said it was just not only the names of Nigerian and African students being removed from the voters’ list, but also the names of local persons have been removed without any reason given and publication of the names of the persons removed, in defiance of the High Court ruling.
“This is a very dangerous practice which has been going on since the change of government in mid-February 2015,” said Liburd, indicating that the Labour Party intends to go to challenge the removal in the High Court.
Earle and Liburd had petitioned the High Court seeking a declaration that two Nigerian students – Oluwabunmi Jesufemi Ayorinde and Osanoto Akolade Samuel who were studying medicine in St. Kitts were not qualified voters as they entered the Federation as a student under the Immigration Act and therefore was not a person qualified to be registered as a voter and is not a resident under the Immigration Act and that a Commonwealth citizen entering St. Kitts and Nevis is not ordinarily resident in St. Kitts and Nevis so as to be registered as a voter under the National Elections Act.
In her May 24th 2017 ruling, Justice Carter rejected the request for a declaration as to do so would be to effectively usurp the decision of the Registration Officer and circumvent the procedure as laid down by the provisions of the National Assembly Elections Act and the Election Registration Regulations.
Last week, the opposition Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) threatened to take legal action against the Supervisor Mr. Elvin Bailey and the Electoral Commission over what it said was apparent clandestine attempts to disenfranchise voters and accused registration officers of allowing persons to register illegally and the names of other persons removed from the list without notice.
Photo: Elvin Bailey