PM addresses nomination date change

PM addresses nomination date change

Statement on the Change in the Date for Nomination of Candidates
BY
THE HON DR KENNY D ANTHONY
PRIME MINISTER & MINISTER FOR FINANCE, ECONOMIC AFFAIRS, PLANNING & SOCIAL SECURITY

In the light of the concerns raised in some quarters over the change in the date for the nomination of candidates from Friday, 27th May 2016 to Saturday 28th May, 2016 it is necessary that I clarify the circumstances that made this change necessary.

Let me first state unequivocally that no consideration whatsoever was given on my part or any other person’s part, of offending or inconveniencing any candidate’s or person’s religious beliefs or faith.

The sole consideration and motivation to the change of the date of nomination was to ensure adequate time for the nomination of candidates, and to preserve the date for the election as required by law.

As I mention later, the Elections Act does not, except in exceptional circumstances which do not apply, allow the date of an election to be changed by the Executive or Judicial Branches of the Government of Saint Lucia.

On Thursday, 19th May, 2016, prior to my announcement of the date for the General Election on national television, the Office of the Governor General was advised of the date for nominations and General Election.

The writs for the General Election should have been signed on that day but was held up to await the list of Returning Officers from the Electoral Commission.

That list was only made available in the afternoon of the next day allowing publication in the Gazette but not in a local newspaper by way of extraordinary publication because by then, most newspapers had closed for the day.

This resulted in the first publication in a newspaper becoming available on the morning of Saturday, 21st May 2016. That publication date meant that if the original nomination date of Friday, 27th May 2016 had been kept, candidates may not have had the seven (7) days prior to Nomination Day.

Consequently, it became necessary for the Governor General to send to the Chief Elections Officer amending writs to correct the date for nomination day.

It must be noted that the law permits the date for Nomination Day to be changed. But, as I have indicated the law does not permit or allow a change of the date for the General Election except in specific and restricted cases of emergencies.

Therefore, in the circumstances, Saturday, 28th May 2016 became the only fair and available date to hold nominations and Her Excellency the Governor General issued the amending writs accordingly.

I recognize that Saturday, 28th May 2016 is a day of religious worship for many in our society. Indeed, Fridays and Sundays are also religious days of worship for some.

I was, however, mindful that a particular day of worship may be difficult for some candidates. However, I was equally mindful of the fact that the law allows a candidate’s agents to nominate him or her in their absence.

I should add that, two of the candidates of the Saint Lucia Labour Party, Joachim Henry and Jerome Gedeon, belong to denominations which worship on a Saturday.

It is therefore inconceivable that anyone could sensibly believe that I would intentionally or otherwise discriminate against any of the religious beliefs of our candidates, supporters or that of any or all citizens.

I sincerely regret the inconvenience that this change may cause to Saint Lucians for whom Saturday is their Sabbath.

Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier the Elections Act provides authority for the nomination of a candidate who may be unable to attend because of his Sabbath to be nominated in his or her absence by his or her duly authorised representative or agent.

This will allow any candidates affected by the regrettable but, in the circumstances, unavoidable change of date to proceed with their nomination without offending their religious beliefs or sensitivities. Therefore, this change of date does not prevent or affect the nomination of any candidate of any of the Parties intending to contest the General Election on Monday, 6th June 2016.

In closing, I wish to reiterate that it was never my intention or that of my Government to discriminate against or inconvenience any religious group or offend any sensitivities.

The decision that had to be made required that careful consideration be given to the law and the various options in order to preserve the date for the General Election.

In any event, I wish to place on record my apologies for any difficulties or any inconvenience that this unavoidable change may cause, and trust that all will go well on Nomination Day   so that we can proceed to elect the new Government for Saint Lucia on the 6th June 2016.

God’s speed and God bless!

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8 Comments

  1. ruda ghal
    May 26, 2016 at 12:53 pm Reply

    Kenny if Sunday is counted as a day of the 7day for nomination day why isn’t today be counted. If today as a holiday not be counted then Saturday and Sunday should not be counted. But it time for this élection to be done n over with. Empty promises on empty promises. Yo peh. Yo kai fou fol

    1. Archo
      May 26, 2016 at 1:54 pm Reply

      Where in the address did the PM say today isn’t included in the seven days?

  2. whats going on
    May 26, 2016 at 2:11 pm Reply

    Dr, Anthony you said “the Elections Act does not, except in exceptional circumstances which do not apply, allow the date of an election to be changed by the Executive or Judicial Branches of the Government of Saint Lucia,” but I can see exceptional circumstances here:
    1) your haste to catch the UWP off-guard, meant that you did not take everything into consideration i.e. sufficient time for the writ to be published in the local newspaper.
    2) In addition, and most importantly, as you admitted, “The writs for the General Election should have been signed on that day but was held up to await the list of Returning Officers from the Electoral Commission,” clearly, indicating that even the Electoral Office was caught with their “pants down.”
    3) 3rdly, your lack of foresight in recognizing that even this new date will offend thousands of St. Lucian, notwithstanding, your apology for the inconvenience that this is sure to cause.
    4) 4thly, given that the act gives a 7 day workable period for the nomination of candidates, why is it absolutely necessary that only the minimum time i.e. exactly seven days, beconsidered here, and
    5) lastly, if you knew that “the law permits the date for Nomination Day to be changed. But, …does not permit or allow a change of the date for the General Election except in specific and restricted cases of emergencies,” why was the date for election not accorded the “traditional” 21 days minimum period from the dissolution of parliament to the general election; Is there a broader reason for the fixation to this date 06-06-2016?

    In closing, I believe all these points equate to “exceptional circumstances” requiring a shift in the date for general election, be it a minor 1-3 days. 2ndly, given that, the novelty, unpredictableness or inexpectation of the general election is not applicable anymore, a minor change in the date will no longer give any party the upper hand.
    There seem to be a level of precipitance with the calling of general election, that with better consideration, could have been avoided. My lifelong saying to my family, “Get it right/true the first time, and avoid having to say sorry later,” apply here.

  3. St. Lucian
    May 26, 2016 at 4:08 pm Reply

    His face not fooling me. I looking below the surface.
    That is where the deceit, and lies reside. The master of division in this country.
    A law unto his own treating St. Lucia as his private backYard.

    Accounts to no one and offers silence when citizens rightly demand answered from him. Tax payers pay his salary but he can care less.
    Puts an election campaign and date smack when students have to study and have exAminAtions But he can care less.
    Puts nomination day n Saturday, far from the norm, but does not give a damn which religious group he offends. He can care less.
    Made King life miserable over st. Judes but four years later neither that or the new hospital can finish and open. But he can care less. No shame having his health minister twice every year for the past four years saying st. Jude opening soon. Like a stuck record.
    When we ask about Juffali he can care less.
    He reads from a report no one else has seen that politicians, business people and police are involved in murder, even implicating some, produces no evidence and can care less.
    The health and justice systems have collApsed but he can care less.
    If he cares less about us whom he suppose to care for and represent well then it’s time we care less about him.

  4. Ti Avocar
    May 26, 2016 at 5:21 pm Reply

    This is not so Mr.PM. The law, the Election Act Chapter 1.02 does not make allowance for an agent to nominate a candidate base on religion. Article 39 (5) which is the only article that speaks about nomination by an agent states clearly that the candidate must be out of state on day of nomination.

    Please google St.Lucia Electoral laws and go to the site St.Lucia Electoral Laws – Georgetown University and read the law yourself. Article 39 (5)

  5. Anonymous
    May 26, 2016 at 6:22 pm Reply

    The Pm does not seem to be organised and in control of his affairs…..more like calamity Kenny.
    I hope that if his party win the general election he will not follow his heroes and put St.Lucia on the road to Caracas.
    God save St.Lucia

  6. Bebe
    May 26, 2016 at 8:15 pm Reply

    Kenny shut up. Everything about that election is wrong. UWP looks more prepared than SLP. The only problem is that some voters may not get an opportunity to vote cause of your hastiness. Now your party hackers going round helping SLP supporters to get IDs. Man u really disrespecting Lucian’s. You treating us like slavers. You son of a slave master. Hope u do not regret.

  7. Bebe
    May 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm Reply

    Kenny shut up.Everything about that election is wrong. UWP looks more prepared than SLP. The only problem is that some voters may not get an opportunity to vote cause of your hastiness. Now your party hackers going round helping SLP supporters to get IDs. Man u really disrespecting Lucian’s. You treating us like slaves. You son of a slave master. Hope u regret your actions . We go show u that we ruling and not you.

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