The administrators of this island’s electoral process say they are ready to conduct the May 24 general election announced today by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
At the same time, Chief Electoral Officer Angela Taylor told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that registration for inclusion on the preliminary voters’ list was continuing.
“Because our registration is ongoing, all those registrations that have been completed . . . I think you are aware that change of addresses and new registration have to be investigated and the correct address validated and constituency and so on. So all those that we have completed investigation for will make it to the preliminary list when that’s published at the beginning of next week,” Taylor said.
While she declined to comment at this stage on what would happen to the names of persons who registered after the preliminary list was published, another senior electoral official assured that those voters would appear on the final list which is being printed shortly before the election.
Taylor had told Barbados TODAY earlier this month that as far as “cleaning up” of the existing list was concerned, she did not anticipate that the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) would need to remove any additional names outside of the thousands already deleted from the Register of Electors up to the end of October last year.
A 76-page supplement to the Official Gazette dated December 25, 2017 revealed that the names of 2,836 people ranging in age from 23 to 110 were purged from the register for the period December 1, 2016 to October 31, 2017.
On the issue of training of the various personnel to help conduct next month’s election, the chief electoral officer said the process had been completed.
“The training was completed except that the presiding officers and poll clerks was done on three consecutive Saturdays and those [Seventh Day] Adventist persons who did not come to those, we are having one last training session next week Thursday. So any person who did not make it to the three Saturdays of training for the presiding officers and election clerks, they have next week Thursday,” Taylor stressed.
She pointed out that when an election is called, there is a calendar of events that must be followed leading up to polling day.
“There is a preliminary list that must be published, then the opening of revising centres, then you continue to register and take objections to registration . . . that’s a seven-day period; and it’s a continuous process. But you would have to have the legislation before you, or a calendar to show you what happens every single day between now and the return of the [election] writ,” the senior electoral official explained, adding that several activities would be undertaken, beginning today.
“We will collect the writ a little later from the Governor General [Dame Sandra Mason] and have our initial meeting and then we will follow the calendar. There are going to be 30 writs. There are 30 elections in principle. So there will be a writ issued for each constituency. I don’t know what time, but they are going to be ready to be collected at the Governor General’s office,” she stated.
Seven political parties and an independent candidate are so far slated to contest the upcoming poll. However, with Monday May 7 being Nomination Day, this could change.
Despite the unprecedented number of parties down to do battle, political commentators believe this election is a straight fight between the two main entities, the incumbent Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party.