Electoral Commission to Decide on Whether St Lucian Can Vote in Barbados’ May 24th Polls

St Lucian professor Eddy Ventose

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday May 9, 2018
– The Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) is expected to announce later today if St Lucian professor Eddy Ventose can register and vote in general elections on May 24th.

EBC attorney Bryan Barrow told the Barbados Today online newspaper that the commission will deliver a comprehensive statement on the issue, following a meeting last night to discuss Monday’s Appeal Court ruling, which gave the state entity 24 hours to determine whether or not it would put Ventose on the electoral list.

Ventose was part of a lawsuit challenging the EBC’s policy of refusing to register Commonwealth citizens to vote here. The other parties to the suit were Grenadian Shireen Ann Mathlin-Tulloch, Jamaican Michelle Russell and Montserratian Sharon Edgcome-Miller.

Last month, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson ruled that all Commonwealth citizens who have lived here for three or more years and were not disqualified under the Representation of the People Act were eligible to vote in this country. After reserving judgment last month on an appeal by the state against the Chief Justice’s ruling, the Court of Appeal Monday issued a ruling, which the attorney for the EBC said had quashed all of Sir Marston’s orders.

“All the orders the Chief Justice made were quashed in the first instance . . . all the things he ordered us to do were quashed and we have 24 hours to determine what we are going to do with Mr Ventose with regards to putting him on the electoral list or not. We don’t know why he was singled out of all the claimants, but he was,” Barrow said.

“They [the court] also said our long-standing policy should be abandoned. But I don’t think that assists us in any way, because we never used the policy as a criterion to determine eligibility for persons to get onto the list. We used that criterion to verify or authenticate that persons were actually living in Barbados lawfully for three years, which is a point that seems to have eluded everybody involved in the case, including the Court of Appeal,” the attorney added. (Barbados Today)

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