Thursday, 15 January 2009 05:21
By Warren Rose
Antigua and Barbuda can now boast of its own local election observers.The announcement was made yesterday, after the Free and Fair Election
League Inc officially registered on January 9.
Secretary of the League George Rick James said the organization will focus on the revised voters' list heading into the next general
elections. They will ensure it can withstand any sort of scrutiny and is acceptable to all political parties.
"We want to make sure persons who are eligible and qualified to register are able to get their names on the voters list in a timely
manner," James said. The Electoral Commission has given eligible registrants two months to register, and individuals who report lost or stolen cards 48 hours prior to the election would be eligible to vote. This, James said, is unacceptable. He wants all voters to be treated equally. "Why should the persons who have stolen cards be given a 48-hour deadline, while first time voter needs to be registered two months before the election? That is
unfair." The League Secretary said the organization is also looking closely at the recent boundary changes, which have raised a number of eyebrows in
sections of society.
The Free and Fair Election League Inc officials said now that the organization is official, it can team up with the international
observers who were invited by the prime minister to oversee the 2009 general elections.
"It has put us in a good position, as we are able to monitor each political party campaign strategy and report to the observers
information that might be helpful in determining the fairness of the election, since the international observers will not be on island
until days before the elections," James said.
Officials are encouraging individuals within the community to come out and become part of the Free and Fair Election League Inc, for the
continued preservation of the organization, and to join the fight for fair elections.
The League Inc is a non-political organization whose main interest is to ensure the electoral process is correctly carried out by the
relevant authority. Official within the group said they will seek to address a number of issues leading up to the rapidly approaching general elections.