Guyanese charged for St Kitts Election Day crimes

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, January 29, 2010 – A Guyanese woman who voted in St Kitts and Nevis general elections on Monday, has been charged with using a cell phone inside her polling booth. And police say she may not even be legal in the country.

Joylyn Ross had been taken into custody by police at a polling station in St Kitts’ sister isle, Nevis, on the morning of Election Day but only formally arrested and charged on Wednesday.

She is accused of “using a cell phone in a polling booth and entering a polling station booth carrying a cell phone”, according to a statement from the police.

It added that further investigations revealed that the woman’s immigration status had not been regularised.

Investigations are continuing in that matter.

Three of the 11 seats in the National Assembly are held by Nevis and in Monday’s general elections, the Concerned Citizens Movement won two, with the other one going to the Nevis Reformation Party. On the mainland, the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party of Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas retained the government after winning six of the eight other seats. The other two are held by the opposition People’s Action Movement.

The elections were monitored by three missions from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organisation of American States (OAS) and Commonwealth.

In a preliminary statement issued yesterday, the six-member CARICOM mission said that “voters in St Kitts and Nevis were able to cast their ballots without intimidation or harassment which augured well for the conduct of an orderly and peaceful election” and the counting of the ballots was “conducted in a transparent manner in that all stakeholders and observers: local, regional, and international were given approval to witness the count”. 

It added that it was “truly remarkable” that despite the long delays experienced at some polling stations, voters were not deterred from exercising their franchise. 

“They showed up at the polls, even as it rained in order to elect the government of their choice and despite some of their earlier concerns expressed to the mission regarding the voters’ list, the re-confirmation of voters and voter education to name a few, voting was conducted in a peaceful and incident free manner,” it said. “The Mission must commend the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis for displaying their commitment to the democratic process.”

However, the CARICOM team said there were concerns about certain aspects of the election process which will be addressed in the full report on its findings and recommendations which will be submitted to the CARICOM Secretary-General.