Barbados Election Date Unlawful – Not Enough Clear Days From Call To Voting Day

If you haven’t read Douglas Trotman’s article in the Nation News, you should do so.

Readers of the article Registers Cannot Be Ready can only come away with more evidence that our Prime Minister does not respect the rule of law or our Constitution at all. It seems that Owen Arthur did not allow enough clear days under law from the election call to the voting day.

Friends, the election laws are there for a reason, but Owen Arthur cares nothing for the law. We’ve already seen that a hundred different times so this latest abuse of power is no surprise.

Mr. Trotman makes a strong case that the January 15th date for the Barbados election is unlawful for a number of reasons. He is also asking for the Barbados election to be “monitored by the relevant authorities” although he doesn’t state who these “relevant authorities” are.

This call for election monitoring in Barbados should be taken seriously by the international community as our country started down a slippery slope several years ago. Personal freedoms and democracy are under attack by an Owen Arthur led cabal that does what they want, when they want – without fear of the police or the courts because they own both those institutions.

Mr. Trotman is a respected lawyer and is running as an independent candidate in St. Philip South. Please take the time to read his Nation News article. (link here)

14 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

14 responses to “Barbados Election Date Unlawful – Not Enough Clear Days From Call To Voting Day

  1. Anon

    I really wish that persons would stop making irresponsible statements re democracy being under threat and questioning the integrity of the electoral system.

    *****************

    BFP Comments,

    We wish those in government would stop making irresponsible actions like amending the Constitution with 2 days notice and zero public debate. We wish those in government would stop robbing the public till by forming companies and then awarding government contracts to themselves.

    We wish that people’s names were not on their ballots. We wish that when those two ballot boxes disappeared in last election that the government would have opened an inquiry. We wish that the government had answered how it is that a Cabinet Minister can become a millionaire in three years on a government salary. We wish that the government hadn’t shut down the journalist who asked the question. We wish that the Deputy Prime Minister hadn’t declared that free speech should be controlled by government regulations.

    We wish that Owen Arthur would explain why a campaign donation ended up in his personal bank account. We wish we had laws requiring the disclosure of campaign donations so that our democracy could be protected from undue foreign influence.

    That’s what we wish.

  2. reality check

    How could you possibly attack that which doesn’t exist?

    democracy? Huh?

  3. Wishing in Vain

    When a PM can make wild and wicked statements as this one has and then we have an article that does not find favour with him being pulled, what else are we to assume?
    This blp is corrupt to the core and his method of holding on to office to continue to carry out his corruption is by methods such as this to alter the course of an election by any means possible and a DICTATORSHIP is righ up his alley.

  4. Floyd

    I am offering Trotman full support. It is great for democracy when a citizen raises these questions. Many of us are too passive on electoral matters.

  5. Conduct of Elections
    36 (1) For the purposes of every election the Governor-General shall issue a writ under the Public Seal addressed to the returning officer for the constituency for which the election is to be held. Every such writ shall be forwarded to the Supervisor of Elections for transmission to the returning officer to whom it is addressed.

    What does section 36(2) of the Representation of the people’s act say

    Every writ issued for the purpose of subsection 9(1) shall be in the Form 2 set out in the third schedule and shall specify the day of nomination of candidate, the day upon which, if necessary, the poll shall be taken, being not less than 14 and not more than 21 clear days thereafter.

    18(1) Where the GG issues a writ for an election in a constituency
    (a) he shall declare the period ending 19 days after the issuing of the writ to be a special electoral registration period; and
    (b) the Commission shall, not later than 3 days after the issuing of the writ, publish a revised register of electors in accordance with section 17 (2) to be known as a preliminary list.

    (2)the Commission shall , during the 16 days after publication of the preliminary list under section (1), make additions and changes to the list in accordance with section 17

    (3) The Commission shall, not later than 21 days after the issuing of a writ for an election for a constituency, publish in respect of that constituency, a register of electors to be known as the register for elections.

    (4) The register for elections must contain the name, address, occupation, if any, and electoral number of every person qualified under this act to be registered as an elector or a foreign service elector for the constituency.

  6. Douglas is to be commended for his action, and David Ellis, Tony Best and Peter Wickham should taken to task for their attempted dismissal of this man on BrassTacks sunday Dec 30th.

    The potential conflict as i see it is with in the Act it self. Here is how i see it.

    Section 36(2) clearly specifies a day range not an exact number of days that an election can take place after the GG issues a writ under the public seal. The date range is no less than 14 days and no more than 21 days.

    Section 18 (1)(a) deals with making changes to the electoral register as allowed in section 17

    It would seem to me that persons who are qualified under the terms of section 6 and are not on the preliminary list are allowed 16 days after a writ is issued to make known to the registrar their intent to register, where those changes can be made in accordance with section 17.

    The GG and the PM are with in the law with 15 days between issue of writ and polling day on January 15th so unless an elector or electors so qualified under section 6 is not on the voter list for his or her constituency up to 19 days after the writ was issued or 16 days after the preliminary list was publish that by law these elector/s are entitle to vote in the election for which the current writ was issued.

    So one day short may only be illegal if an elector is actually disenfranchised as a result of it.

    Is Nomination day also the day the Writ was issued? Or was it issued at 5:00 pm Dec 21st?

  7. Maat

    Trotman is the lawyer, Wickham, the political scientist and I am not a prophet but perhaps the question of the legality of the election date and disputed time for electors registration will become an issue when either party declares victory.

    What will happen if the DLP win? can the BLP declare that the election was null and void due to the date mix up?

    Is it true that when the Governor General dissolves parliament that we are without an active political government?

    We should remember these blissful moments and realise that the country does not stand still or fall into chaos in the period between the dissolution of parliament and the election of a new body of representatives.

    So tell me again why it is that we pay these politicians so much money?!

    Peace

  8. John

    Maat
    January 1, 2008 at 4:12 am

    We should remember these blissful moments and realise that the country does not stand still or fall into chaos in the period between the dissolution of parliament and the election of a new body of representatives.

    So tell me again why it is that we pay these politicians so much money
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    My feelings exactly.

    How long did the US go without a President when Bush was first trying to get elected and the courts had the final say?

    Trinidad also I seem to remember survived a long period too with no Government.

    It all comes down to the 270K people in Barbados.

    As we continue to demonstrate, we really can and do get by with dodos, criminals and whatever else a party manages to get elected to Parliament because we carry the load on our collective backs.

    Imagine if for once we could get these MP’s to actually pull their weight and be honest for a change.

  9. Ok after submitting my earlier opinions on Douglas’s reasoning, I sat and reread his nationnews article, and reread the quoted sections of the representation of the people’s act, and i must say that i was wrong and that Douglas is indeed on to something.

    ======================================================================
    Dougals said:
    I submit that polling day cannot be held on January 15 because of the following reasons:
    (1) the number of clear days specified under Section 36(2) has not been met;
    ——————
    Adrian says : He is correct: clear days do not include holidays and weekend. The PM announce elections on Friday the 21st the GG issued the writ at 5:00 pm the same day. So to satisfy section 36 (2) of no less than 14 and no more than 21 CLEAR DAYS, the dates counted are as follows Dec, 24,27,28,31,Jan 2, 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,14,15. Jan 15 represents 14 clear days from the issue of the writ on December 21. The only way that Douglas cannot be correct is if it is successfully argued that by issuing the writ 21st before the end of the business day that the 21st is indeed the start date of the countdown instead of the 24th. We may need a clearer interpretation of CLEAR DAYS.
    ================================

    Dougals said:
    (2) there has been no notice of a declaration of a “special electoral registration period” by the Governor-General under Section 18(1);
    ——————————-
    Adrian says:
    The way i read this section it would suggest that the issuance of the writ under 36(2) covers 18(1) but differs by whom it is address too and by the clears days for the action it address being 19 and 16 days respectively

    ===================================
    Dougals said:
    (3) if the declaration has been made (without notice to the public), then the number of days in the period as required under section 18(1) has not been met; and

    ———————–

    Adrian says:
    Agreed. At any rate the GG could not have issued a writ earlier than the PM made his announce on Dec 21st. So that Dec 21st is to my mind the writ was issued and to satisfy the 19 day and 16 day requirement in this section Jan 15 cannot be polling day.

  10. frankology

    So that Dec 21st is to my mind the writ was issued and to satisfy the 19 day and 16 day requirement in this section Jan 15 cannot be polling day.
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Adrian, what is David and his legal brains saying about this date, or will we hear an injunction brought after the elections if the Dems may loose, stating that the party was at a disadvantage by the one day, thus the reason for losing. Just thinking aloud.

  11. John

    … looks like it may be a repetition of the Prison at Dodds which earned certain people the nickname of “I are a idiot”.

    The elections will probably go on, … like the prison was opened!!

    I think it is a good thing the prison opened with plenty extra space although all the legal steps had not been taken.

    Who knows what might happen after the election, particularly if somebody can show how one day caused him/her to be disenfranchised.

    Al Capone was locked up for tax evasion, not murder.

  12. John
    January 1, 2008 at 5:23 pm
    … looks like it may be a repetition of the Prison at Dodds which earned certain people the nickname of “I are a idiot”.

    The elections will probably go on, … like the prison was opened!!

    I think it is a good thing the prison opened with plenty extra space although all the legal steps had not been taken.

    Who knows what might happen after the election, particularly if somebody can show how one day caused him/her to be disenfranchised.

    Al Capone was locked up for tax evasion, not murder.
    ==================================
    David Thompson says Douglas’s opinions are being look into. This is the right answer.

    ……This debacle give either party an avenue to contest the results. If the BLP loses if would matter little who made the error, as the law is the law, and if it’s dictates where not met, it has to be rectified, if we are to be truly reflect the believe that we are a country of laws. Remember we no longer have morals and ethics to rely on we have only the law, and without that we are……nothing.

  13. John

    … Adrian, I agree, look into it by all means.

    If they can’t figure it out by the 15th, the show goes on. Even if they figure it out my suspicion is that the show will go on.

    If it is figured out after the 15th and the show really should not have gone on, Douglas Trotman’s letter in the press seems to indicate that it would boil down to someone being able to show they were disenfranchised for there to be a penalty.

    Would the whole election result suffer or only the one in a particular constituency?

    Is Owen willing to take that risk? He just might!!

    Here is a thought.

    I doubt he is going to risk having the elections too close to Errol Barrow day. He would never live it down if he lost ….. and things aren’t so sure this time around, don’t care what he says!!

    I think I saw somewhere that back in 1998, the writ was published on Boxing Day and elections held on the 20th January, 1999. I thought they were held actually on Errol Barrow Day that year. I was wrong.

    I remember the time. You could not help getting the impression he was thumbing his nose at the Dees, …. and he was triumphant when he won. I almost did not vote that time he had me so sick but did so out of duty. I actually voted Bee back then as I hadn’t figured out how things worked.

    He has the choice of Wednesay, Thursday or Friday if he changes from the 15th. If he goes with Thursday and loses the Dees will probably make Friday a Bank Holiday and be celebrating all into Monday the 21st, Errol Barrow Day, another Bank Holiday.

    He will never live that down and the Dees will rub his nose in it. His ego cannot take that.

    He could have them the following week, after the 21st and avoid the possibility of egg on his face if he loses. Then he starts getting close to the upper limit as I understand the letter from Douglas Trotman.

    I believe the opposition walk out forced his hand in calling elections and left to his own devices he probably would have preferred them a bit later.

    He rushed through some things in one session of Parliament and in so doing in the absence of the opposition I think he realised it could only look real bad to continue the charade of a parliament without an opposition. Power to him for doing the right thing.

    He had also by then, opened his big mouth and revealed to us all his “special motivation” on Sunday at his nomination.

    His stocks could only fall from that point on if he operated a parliament without an opposition.

    I think he may well have cooked his own goose!!

    I think it will be very interesting to watch the status of anything he rushed through that one session of parliament in the absence of the opposition ….. if the opposition turns around and wins the election!!

    We are in for interesting times!! I cannot call this election.

  14. Brutus

    Adrian,

    There is a table in the Nation newspaper of Dec 31 which shows appears to show Trotman counted the days.

    S. 36(5) which you did not reproduce above says

    “(5) In computing the period of time for the purposes of subsection (2), Sundays and public holidays shall be included.”

    My reading of S. 36(2) is that there must be at least 14 clear days after NOMINATION DAY (Dec 31). By my count, this condition has been satisfied.

    S.18 appears to require the 19 days to be counted from the date of THE WRIT, which was Dec 20. Where does it say that Sundays and holidays should be excluded from this count? If you exclude them, the count seems to be only 18 days. However it seems to me that if the commission publishes the final electoral list WITHIN 21 days then they would have complied with S.18 – in other words, 21 days is the maximum period but it could be done in fewer days.

    The 16 days are counted from the date of publication of the preliminary list. This could be less than 3 days after the date of the writ so the total number of days may be less than 21. I am not sure of the date of publication of the list.

    The DLP have said they are studying the issue, so perhaps there is indeed something here.