Prime Minister Doctor Kenny Anthony has said that he is “warming” towards the idea of having fixed election dates.
Anthony was asked last night by his Press Secretary, Jadia Jn Pierre Emmanuel, whether he thought it was fair for one person to have the power to determine when general elections are called.
Responding during the Choice Television program – In Touch, the Prime Minister said:
“I think that’s an intriguing question and in that respect I have come around a little bit. I notice what has been happening in Saint Lucia in recent years is that we have started to campaign far earlier than in the past.”
He said historically politicians wait until later to begin preparing for elections, but noted that what obtains now is that campaigning begins from the day the election is over.
“It could be a very distracting thing,” Anthony observed, adding that under such circumstances the electoral challenges that arise from time to time have to be coped with.
“I am not sure that can be in the best interest of the country,” the former University of the West Indies Law Lecturer stated.
However he noted that the “practical problem” was that Saint Lucia has a Westminister system of government, where it is felt that a key element is the ability of a Prime Minister to determine the date of an election at his choosing.
Nevertheless Doctor Anthony said the more an election is delayed, the less it comes as surprise.
He pointed to the situation with then Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bisessar in Trinidad and Tobago recently.
“She delayed and delayed, and then it had to be done,” Anthony recalled.
He said he understood that some countries are moving to set fixed dates for elections, and he was warming to that view.
“Perhaps if we have a fixed date political parties will be aware of the date and it would minimize this mad scramble in the months leading up to a general election because of the uncertainty of the date of the poll, which can be a very distracting thing week after week, month after month,” Anthony stated.