Commonwealth Citizens Finally Added To Electoral List in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday May 15, 2018 – Four Commonwealth citizens living in Barbados who had been fighting to get their names on the list of registered voters have now been included, giving them the opportunity to vote in the May 24 general elections.

Their inclusion came yesterday, after Chief Electoral Officer Angela Taylor complied with a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) order handed down in an unprecedented Sunday sitting.

The Trinidad-based CCJ gave Taylor until noon yesterday to ensure that St Lucian professor Eddy Ventose was registered, or be found in contempt of court and risk imprisonment and/or a fine.

Attorney-at-law Gregory Nicholls, who was on the legal team representing Ventose, the principal applicant in a class action suit against the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) that also included Grenadian Shireen Ann Mathlin-Tulloch, Jamaican Michelle Russell, and Montserratian Sharon Edgcome-Miller, disclosed that Taylor had done as the court demanded.

“All of the litigants in the matter have been registered and have received confirmation that they are on the voters’ list,” he told online newspaper Barbados Today.

In an emergency CCJ session on Sunday, a five-member panel headed by CCJ president Sir Dennis Byron 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 she 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, Sir Dennis expressed the view that the CCJ’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.

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