A Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate in the May 24 general election is suggesting that the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) could interfere in the poll by using its legislative powers to prevent certain Barbadians from voting.
While not accusing the RBPF of plotting any such sinister moves, BLP candidate for St Michael Central Arthur Holder last night said it was possible for law enforcement officers to use the powers granted to them under the Police (Amendment) Act to force voters to stay home on Election Day, denying them the privilege of casting their ballots.
“The amended powers of the police can allow the police in this country to visit your house on the 23rd of May, 2018. It is highly possible and probable that the police can come to your house on the 23rd of May, cordon off the area, and keep you there for 48 hours,” Holder, an attorney, told a BLP meeting in Back Ivy.
One of the provisions of the recently amended legislation grants the RBPF the power to barricade an area and prohibit residents from leaving for as long as two days if illegal activity is suspected.
“If they come the 23rd and they hold you and they cordon off that area for 48 hours, you know you can’t vote,” Holder stressed.
The Police (Amendment) Act, which was enacted in January, increases “the statutory powers granted to the Commissioner [of Police] and the Force to protect the life and property of citizens of Barbados, to ensure peace and public order under the Act with the use of cordons and curfews”.
Once there is sufficient suspicion, the amendments empower the Commissioner of Police to search any premises in a designated area between 5a.m. and 8p.m. and cordon off that zone, and “require a person to remain stationary and to refrain from doing any activity within the designated area” in the maximum two days of an imposed curfew.
“Don’t think that this has anything to do with making Barbados safer for anybody because what has been done is to violate people’s constitutional rights,” Holder said on the BLP platform in support of St Michael East candidate Trevor Prescod.
Former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) cabinet minister Joseph Johnny Tudor also addressed last night’s meeting at which he denounced his former party as “unrighteous” and “wicked” and endorsed BLP leader Mia Mottley.
Donning a BLP red jacket, Tudor, who lost the seat to Prescod in 1999, declared that “history is going to be recorded in Barbados because with [the help of] this seat Barbados is going to have the first woman Prime Minister”, while he urged voters to rally behind his former political rival.
Tudor, who was ordained a minister of religion in 2016 and announced plans to begin preaching the word of God in 2017, told the Back Ivy crowd that God had summoned him back to “make sure that Trevor Prescod is returned to the House of Assembly” as the parliamentary representative.
“God wants me to tell the truth, and the truth is that this is an unrighteous Government and they have a gall to come back to the people and ask you to return them to the House of Assembly,” the former DLP vice president said.