The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will today hold an emergency session to hear an appeal filed by a St. Lucian man, who is fighting for his right to vote in his adopted homeland, Barbados, when elections are held there later this month.
According to a media advisory posted on the regional court of last resort’s website, Professor Eddy Ventose’s application may have implications not only for the appellant but also for Commonwealth citizens, living in Barbados, who want to be registered to vote in the upcoming elections on 24 May, 2018. The hearing before Sir Dennis Byron, President of the CCJ and the CCJ Judges, which will begin at 11am in Court 1, will be live-streamed. The Barbados Chief Electoral Officer is the other party in the case.
The advisory states that Professor Ventose, a St Lucian national who has lived in Barbados for several years, is seeking to be included on the Barbados electoral register.
He alleges that under the prevailing laws he is qualified and entitled to be registered. It was stated that the Chief Justice of Barbados, sitting as a trial judge, after hearing arguments on the matter, had issued the order “compelling the Chief Electoral Officer to allow Professor Ventose to be registered to vote”. Barbados’s Court of Appeal recently ruled that Professor Ventose was entitled to be registered to vote but stopped short of compelling the Chief Electoral Officer to do so, instead, ordering the CEO to determine Professor Ventose’s claim within 24 hours.
Professor Ventose’s application for leave to appeal reached the CCJ on Friday afternoon. He is asking the CCJ to declare that his name should be on the final voters’ list ahead of its publication this week.
“The court’s decision on the matter will also affect other Commonwealth Caribbean citizens, resident in Barbados for the relevant qualifying period, who are also claiming a right to be registered as voters under the Barbados laws”, the media advisory states.
It adds that in light of the acknowledged urgency of the matter, the Court responded by scheduling the hearing for today.