Supervisor of elections says more time was needed

(Antigua Sun) – Supervisor of Elections Lorna Simon said the Electoral Commission was in fact not ready to carry out the elections on 12 March.

In February, Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission Nathaniel “Paddy” James came under fire for saying that the commission was not ready to conduct the elections and the Chairman Sir Gerald Watt, QC, had actually been advised by the other members of the commission to ask the prime minister to delay the announcement of the elections. The final word by the chairman was that that was never the case and the commission was in full readiness.

In an exclusive interview with the Antigua Sun on the night of the election, however, Simon said that the commission needed two more weeks to make sure that all preparations with regard to the elections were in place.

As is known, on Election Day 2009, the opening of polling station in five constituencies was seriously delayed because the electoral lists were not printed in time. Other complications were that the ink to mark those who already voted was not in place, and in some cases, neither were the electoral clerks and returning officers.

In answer to the question of whether she believed that the commission was ready to facilitate the election in all aspects Simon said, “We could have used more time, bearing in mind the report that the Boundaries Commission submitted and the amount of work that had to go into it. We could have used more time to ensure that in printing the registers, all the data was accurate.” She said that in the two extra weeks that they needed they could have published an initial list of electors for the public and if there were any errors or objections, then it could have been revised before the official register of electors was printed.

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