PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday May 14, 2018 – The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has given the Chief Electoral Officer in Barbados, Angela Sealy, until midday today to put St Lucian Professor Eddy Ventose on register of voters for next week’s elections.
And if she doesn’t, CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron warned, she may face contempt of court proceedings, which could result in imprisonment and/or fines.
In an unprecedented emergency Sunday session, the CCJ handed down the order in a live link-up between Barbados and Trinidad, after Ventose challenged a decision by officials of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission not to include his name on the list of persons eligible to vote.
The CCJ said it was satisfied that Ventose, a professor at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), had satisfied the necessary legal and regulatory conditions for registration as an elector.
Professor Ventose had stated that he was qualified and entitled to be registered to vote but his registration was consistently refused. The Court of Appeal in Barbados last Tuesday ruled that he was qualified to be registered to vote, but stopped short of compelling Sealy to enroll him on the register of voters, only giving the electoral chief 24 hours to make a determination on his application.
When the CEO failed to register him, Professor Ventose asked the CCJ to declare that he was entitled to be registered to vote and to order the CEO to enter his name on the final voters’ list ahead of its publication this week.
In delivering the ruling of the five-member panel, the CCJ president expressed the view that the Court’s decision should also resolve the matter for other Commonwealth citizens, resident in Barbados for the relevant qualifying period, who are also claiming a right to be registered as voters under the Barbados laws.
Costs for the CCJ proceedings, and the hearings in the courts were also awarded to Professor Ventose.