Categorized | News, Regional

Prime Minister gives explanation for change in nomination date

by STAFF WRITER

CASTRIES, St.Lucia, May 26, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has sought to explain the reason behind the change of date for nomination day for the June 6 general election.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony

In an address to the nation late Wednesday, the Prime Minister said while the change does not prevent or affect the nomination of any candidate intending to contest the General Election he apologised for any effect it may have on the religious faith of candidates.

This week, the Electoral Department announced the new date as Saturday 28, instead on Friday 27.

In clarifying the circumstances that made this change necessary Anthony stated “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.”

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

The Prime Minister explained that 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.

He said on Thursday, 19th May 2016, prior to his 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 days prior to Nomination Day.

Anthony said that 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.”

The Prime Minister said two of the candidates of the governing St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) 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 St Lucians for whom Saturday is their Sabbath. “

“Fortunately, 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,” he said.

Anthony reiterated that it was never his intention or that of his Government to discriminate against or inconvenience any religious group or offend any sensitivities.  But noted that 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,” he added.

Earlier this week leader of the opposition Allen Chastanet accused the Prime Minister of being insensitive to the religious of St. Lucians by announcing June 6 as the date for the general election.

Chastanet said while the election date clashes with the one set by the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) for regional students, including St. Lucians sitting exams in Food and Nutrition and Additional Mathematics, Nomination Day also now clashes with the Sabbath of members of the Seventh Day Adventist.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER

CASTRIES, St.Lucia, May 26, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has sought to explain the reason behind the change of date for nomination day for the June 6 general election.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony

In an address to the nation late Wednesday, the Prime Minister said while the change does not prevent or affect the nomination of any candidate intending to contest the General Election he apologised for any effect it may have on the religious faith of candidates.

This week, the Electoral Department announced the new date as Saturday 28, instead on Friday 27.

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In clarifying the circumstances that made this change necessary Anthony stated “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.”

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

The Prime Minister explained that 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.

He said on Thursday, 19th May 2016, prior to his 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 days prior to Nomination Day.

Anthony said that 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.”

The Prime Minister said two of the candidates of the governing St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) 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 St Lucians for whom Saturday is their Sabbath. “

“Fortunately, 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,” he said.

Anthony reiterated that it was never his intention or that of his Government to discriminate against or inconvenience any religious group or offend any sensitivities.  But noted that 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,” he added.

Earlier this week leader of the opposition Allen Chastanet accused the Prime Minister of being insensitive to the religious of St. Lucians by announcing June 6 as the date for the general election.

Chastanet said while the election date clashes with the one set by the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) for regional students, including St. Lucians sitting exams in Food and Nutrition and Additional Mathematics, Nomination Day also now clashes with the Sabbath of members of the Seventh Day Adventist.