A direct question to the champions of ‘Cleansing the Voter’s List’
In the forward march to the December 8th 2014 date with destiny, I wish to ask the following straight forward questions to those who continue to champion the issue of “cleansing or sanitizing” the voters list at all cost.
1. How many people do you know, across all 21 constituencies, whose names appear on the voters list today, but who by law, are not supposed to remain on the list? These should be either dead, been resident overseas for five consecutive years without ever returning to the state for the funeral of a relative, Creole Festival, Carnival, sister’ or brother’s Wedding, Christmas, business such as building their house etc? How many of them have you identified?
2. Having identified those individuals what have you done to ensure that the law and procedure as set down by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal in this regard has been complied with? Even if you disagree with the procedures as set down by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, until the law is changed, then the procedures must be followed. Like it or not. You cannot do anything legally, outside that procedure.
3. In this regard have you (yes you the UWP) represented to the appropriate authorities the information you have about those individuals who, as far as you know ought not to be on the list? What have you done about that, gentleman? In other words, have you compiled a list of such names across the 21 constituencies and presented it to the proper authority – the Elections Commission?
4. Has your media frenzy representations about “cleaning up, sanitizing the voters list been limited only to very well selected media appearances?
5. What is the real intent of your ceaseless media appearances on the matter? Is it meant only at raising awareness of the issue or is it part of a well-orchestrated plan at raising people’s emotions in the hope that somehow you will finally get boots on the ground?
I cannot understand why someone/organization who has championed such an important cause for so long, are yet to properly identify those individuals whom they say ought not to be on the list and to represent the same to the appropriate authorities. It boggles the mind.
In the case of individuals having lived overseas for five consecutive years, the Electoral Commission and the office does not have the system in place to capture such information, i.e. the movement of people in and out of Dominica. It has been in existence across every successive administration including those who today are calling on the same system to deliver what it was not designed to do. We can recognize the shortcomings in the present system and argue that such a system ought to be reviewed. That is OK. But to give the impression that the existing law is being violated by government, the ruling party, is mischievous at best.
In the case of people having died the Electoral Commission has to rely on notices of death from the Civil Registry. That is easily done and has been put in use with some positive effect.
Why should we have people who have gone to the great beyond on our voters list? Why should we have more people on the voters list compared to the resident population? How dare we have more people registered to vote than people living here? On the surface these two concerns seem justified. But the system has to be understood.
To understand why such is the case requires further commentary. It begins with the system of continuous registration of electors. People who have reached the age of majority (18 years) apply for registration as an elector. Their application, once in order is accepted. They are then registered and they move on with their life either here or overseas and then turn up to vote at general elections or local government elections or referendum. Unless the names are removed in accordance with the rules and procedures as established by our highest appellate court in these matters, then the list will remain as is. Jump high or jump low.
Here is a quotation from Mr. Lennox Linton, Political Leader of the UWP. “We have laws that tells us what we can do and what we cannot do during election time, we are a country of law, we are a law abiding people and therefore our political parties must also abide by the laws whether they are in government or in opposition,” Sleep on that Athie, Lennox et all.
Those who raise these issues and objections are downright political impostors. They are not honest. The sum total of their arguments cannot stand any a moment in court. They are actually playing on people’s emotions.