NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (February 20, 2020) — The following is an address by Mr. Elvin Bailey, Supervisor of Elections for St. Kitts and Nevis on February 20, 2020, regarding the by-election for District 5 in Nevis on March 05, 2020.
Fellow citizens and residents, greetings,
His Excellency Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton acting on the advice of the Premier [of Nevis] Hon. Mark A. G. Brantley, and following the resignation of the Hon. Joseph Parry on 31st December 2019, has issued the necessary writ proclaiming Thursday 5th March 2020, as Polling Day.
As you are aware, the election will be only for District 5, the parish of St Thomas’ Lowlands, Nevis. Mrs. Sherilla Nisbett has been assigned the position of Returning Officer. She will receive nominations for the polls on Tuesday February 25th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. as stipulated by the National Assembly Elections Act.
Each candidate must be nominated by at least two voters who are registered in the District, subject to the conditions set out in subsection 59 of Part IV of the Act. In due course an announcement will be made of the successfully nominated candidates.
The Register of Voters for this election consists of the persons who were registered to vote as of 31st January 2020. This is in accordance with Section 48 (1) & (2) of the National Assembly Elections Act, which indicates that the register is made up of the Annual Register and all previous revised monthly list.
The writ from the governor general having been issued on 14th February, means that the Annual Register of January 31st and all those persons who were registered in December and by January 31st, and whose registration was uncontested will be allowed to vote.
Electors will cast their votes at the Cotton Ground Community Centre at two voting stations; at the Jessups Community Centre again at two stations, and at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre (NEPAC), (the Southern or Craddock Road side) where there will be one station.
Let me emphasise that NEPAC replaces the Roman Catholic Hall, and we thank the Church for its contribution of the hall over the years.
The Voter Register will be posted at the usual places that is, at the Cotton Ground Police Station and at Garita’s Shop in Cotton Ground; at the Jessups Community Centre and at Culturama Bar in Jessups. In addition a register is also available for inspection at the Electoral offices in Charlestown and in Basseterre.
Polls will be open at 7:00 a.m. on voting day and close at 6:00 p.m. Any and all persons in line in the precinct of the polling station at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Anyone who comes in line after 6 p.m. will not be allowed to vote.
Persons whose National Identification cards have expired, persons who have misplaced or lost cards, once properly registered will be allowed to vote on presentation of any other form of government issued picture identification.
The Presiding Officers and agents of the candidates will also be equipped with pictures to aid in identification of voters.
Presiding Officers, Polling Clerks and Tally Clerks will be appointed and are mandated to undertake their assigned tasks without partiality, fear or favour.
The Presiding Officers will be responsible for the maintenance of order at the polling stations. Voters are asked to pay special attention to the instructions of the Electoral Officers, in particular to those of the Presiding Officers and the conditions under which one’s vote will be inserted into the ballot box.
The law allows for persons who, other than the electoral agents and workers, shall be in the polling stations. Candidates are not allowed to be present more than five minutes together with their agent. I am asking both candidates to protect this section of the electoral law that is, Section 77 (1) in the National Assembly Election Act.
Presiding Officers will receive all election materials including ballot boxes on Wednesday 4th March. All such materials will be displayed on the morning of the poll before the start of the voting.
Our ballot boxes follow international standards and will be displayed, inspected and locked before ballots are cast. At the close of the polls boxes will be sealed and transported to the point of counting, under armed guards and in the presence of appointed party agents.
Indeed, the political parties have been invited to appoint agents to witness all that goes on in the polling stations, as well as at the count of the votes cast.
Special attention will be paid to the folding of the votes so as to ensure the secrecy of the vote.
The ballots will be counted by the Returning Officer at the Cotton Ground Police Station starting at about 8 p.m. Results will be broadcast live on radio and tv stations as well as social media.
I appeal to the public to pay attention to the Electoral Offences, all of which carry prison terms and or fines. These too will be published in the newspapers.
I invite the public to join all electoral workers to ensure that the election is peaceful, and that each person gets one vote in the right place. All eligible voters, duly registered, are urged to exercise their franchise by voting on March 5th. If you are not registered do not attempt to vote, and do not impersonate a voter.
Employers are reminded that employees should by law, be allowed time off to carry out their constitutional right to vote.
Thank you for your attention, and may God continue to bless us all.