PRESS RELEASE CONDEMNING DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF OVERSEAS VOTERS
September 30, 2019
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour strongly condemns the ongoing attempts by Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris to exclude overseas Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis from participating in democratic elections in St. Kitts and Nevis to elect a government of our collective choosing.
At a Forum for St. Kitts-Nevis national held in New York on Thursday September 26th in the margins of the 2019 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis lamented that the Register of Voters (Electoral List) has more voters than there are people of voting age in the Federation. What the Prime Minister who has been involved in electoral politics since 1993 (over 26 years ago) ought to know is that since 1984, overseas nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis have been able to register to vote in our local elections. The effect of that reality is that the number of voters on the Electoral List does not correlate to the number of persons of voting age resident in the Federation. Rather, it correlates to the number of persons both at home and abroad who have registered to vote.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party views the Prime Minister’s statements as part of a sinister plot to disenfranchise overseas nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis. It makes no sense to claim that the number of voters on the Electoral List should reflect the number of persons residing in the Federation when our laws permit the registration of non-resident nationals. In our estimation, the Prime Minister really intends to remove the names of the overseas nationals from the Electoral List to further his narrow political agenda.
It was only on September 2nd that the government was forced under public pressure to completely withdraw the proposed National Assembly Elections (Amendment) Bill that sought to remove the names of overseas voters from the Electoral List. No sooner had that happened than the Prime Minister has again initiated the conversation about removing the overseas voters from the Electoral list. This crass politics must stop.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is also appalled at the conduct of the Prime Minister who insists on using taxpayers’ money to conduct what are clearly partisan political meetings. The forum for Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis held in New York on Thursday was by every measure a political meeting staged by the Prime Minister at the expense of St. Kitts and Nevis taxpayers.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party gives the undertaking, once in office, to protect the right of our overseas nationals to participate in democratic elections in the country of their belonging. Further, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party will enact legislation that prevents the wanton abuse of taxpayers’ dollars on partisan political activity.