A CHALLENGE FOR THE P.M’S BELOVED SOCIAL PARTNERS

Written by on March 28, 2018

Victory is sweet — and even sweeter when it is a whitewash; hence the celebration is magnanimous and I congratulate the winning NNP.  And in government, I wish them every success.

Now here is the big challenge for our Social Partners who are held in high esteem by the Prime Minister — that of ensuring an even playing field for future General Elections.

These men and women of the Church, trade unions, private sector and others – ought to uncompromisingly pursue the implementation of the recommendations of the OAS/CARICOM/Commonwealth Observers for future elections.

Reflecting is necessary, both in victory and defeat, and as one of the losing debutantes in the just ended 2018 General Elections, I am compelled to offer some perspectives.

Let’s begin with the Parliamentary Election Office (PEO).  It will always face challenges in its quest run the perfect national elections; and the PEO must admit that much needs to be done.

If honesty and fairness means anything to the Parliamentary Electoral Office (and more importantly, to the government – elected by the voters) they cannot ignore the many loop holes that open the doors to dishonesty and cheating.

No doubt about it, the Representation of the People Act ought to be reviewed urgently and strengthened to ensure fairness.

My biggest concern is the verification of the voter registration list – the legitimacy of many of the voters!  Are some of these people really from a said constituency?  Or are they allowed to register there, ensuring that a party enhances it numbers?

Based on when the final list is posted, that is just not possible.  And we must find a method, allowing time to properly verify who is who. The night before elections I received a list of 25 people who were granted transfers – Absolutely nowhere can I verify who is who?

In the eight polling divisions of the Constituency of South St. George, my agents reported dozens of people being allowed to cast a vote without showing a registration card – just claiming to be that person.

Others of Caucasian origin, and Chinese looking people, and even some of African descent who claim to be citizens of Grenada used their passports as identification.

Many of these people were unknown to agents and the community in which they voted.

None of my agents recall the officer in charge seriously investigating any voter who showed up without the voter registration card; and considering how hectic the pace is on election day, it is impossible to pursue it at that time.

Going forward the one solution should be that everyone who wants to vote must show a voter registration card – and nothing else!!!  If you don’t have a card you must not be allowed to vote.

The objective of the Voter Registration Identification card is a demonstration of your registration and qualification to vote.

Elections are not held overnight, they are called every five years.  And if anyone loses his or her Identification card, then go get a replacement.

The Electoral Office must have the equipment to provide the voter card up to a week before the election date.

Here is a very shocking experience which occurred in Polling Division One using the Spring Government School:  A woman voter left the room with the ballot and later returned with one of the candidates with the ballot — AND WAS ALLOWED TO PLACE IT IN THE BOX.  The question is, “Why did the returning officer allow the woman to leave the room with the ballot and then return?”

Clearly, the competency of the workers ought to improve.  The Question could be asked, “How much of that was experienced on election day?”

The greatest threat to an honest election is the Government’s Citizenship by Investment program.

Who are these people? Only the government knows who they are because the laws do not allow publication of their names when granted citizenship.

In the Constituency of South St. George, many of the 1500 Citizenship by Investment passport holders showed up to cast a vote in our national elections — and all Grenadians ought to be gravely concerned about it, and the increasing number that are likely  in the coming years.

One may argue that the passport is a legitimate form of identification; but the million dollar question is, “Why didn’t those voters go to the Parliamentary Office and secure the Voter I.D?”

Today, more than ever, everyone says how much he or she loves Grenada; but seems to ignore decency and fair play.

I look forward to seeing all patriots — and in particular the Grenada BAR Association, the Trade Union Council, the Conference of Churches Grenada and the Chamber of Commerce championing a review of the Representation of the People’s Act

The Community of Social Partners which the Prime Minister loves so much must demand that he does what is good and genuine — keeping in mind that one day the shoe might be on the other foot, and the consequences won’t be nice.


Reader’s opinions
  1. Wayne C   On   March 28, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    “In the constituency of south St. George, many of the 1500 citizenship by investment passport holders showed up to cast a vote IN OUR NATIONAL ELECTIONS, and Grenadians ought to be gravely concerned about it.” OK, you got my attention; but Grenadians are allowed to cast a vote in the U.S. or Trinidad, Canada etc … once they become a citizen of that country. Ray I miss the point, can you explain?

  2. robert james   On   March 28, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Is Ray serious or is this his naivete showing? You did not lose because of CBI, the single voter in Springs or the 25 persons that were unknown to your “agents” (what a term for supporters!) Ray, you lost because the overwhelming members of the electorate rejected your party. Start there and stop griping. Try on the long pants of a political veteran. Granted it may take you some time to mature especially since you drank a massive jug of the yellow kool-aid that predicted a win for the NDC. Ask more pertinent inward looking questions: why did the people reject EVERY single one of our candidates? What did we not understand regarding where the people are at this point in time? Did we prepare sufficiently for the general elections? Is our leader a drag on the future success of any candidate of the NDC? What are our prospects for winning a general election with brother Burke at the head of our ticket? What is the best strategic way to engage the electorate while we are in political exile? Did our message or our messengers send the wrong signal to the electorate? Is there any negative hangover from the way we expelled David and others from the party that we have not addressed since 2013? How do we find new candidates that can appeal to a broader section of the electorate? Beyond our base how do we attract a super-majority of the 19,000 who did not vote? Is there any long term value in attacking the electoral office? Now that Franka Bernadine has been rendered spent as have Burke and the current executive, how can we elect a new executive that can attract a larger demographic to our party? Do we really need to find out why 19,000 did not vote? Or do we need to find a way to close the gap between 23,000 and 33,000? Should our party publicly disavow Kem Jones and his brand of political rhetoric? What is the likely future of success for our party at the next polls since we suffered a devastating historic series of sweeps that could render our party irrelevant for the long term?

  3. Thereaa   On   March 29, 2018 at 5:03 am

    Am concerned about the influx of the Chinese and Indians who are coming to start up businesses on the island. Why can’t the prime minister encourage the natives, and make the banks give them loans to start up businesses.
    Mr. Prime Minister why are you not telling the people about the oil that has been found in Grenada? Why is it such a big secret ? I would like to know what will be the plans for the revenue from the oil. I do hope it will go towards building better bridges, some of the roads need to have proper walls with a ground level foundation. Some houses should be moved. They are too close to the road. I don’t know how these people can sleep.

    Why are all the mangoes going to waste? It’s about time they export them as a fruit, make juices, pulps, dry, chutney etc,etc. What is the agriculture minister’s job? Should he not help the people to grow the crop using other methods such as greenhouse when the rainfall is at its heaviest? This will help to have a sustainable flow of short crops, as the people call it.

    And finally, Mr. Prime Minister, please stop importihttps://www.grenadabroadcast.com/files/ng those uncomfortable vans that are called buses to transport the public. they are a disgrace. people are packed in as animals — sweating and sticking to each other. The drivers drive using one hand — the other hand is holding the window. I would like to know why? They speed as if they’re on a racing track. When they cause an accident, nothing happens to them. They go on to drive like a maniac. I wonder if they realise that they are responsible for the lives of the people in the vehicle. I would like to see a change.

    And stop spoiling the island with all these little huts you are helping the people to build. Give them something decent — like a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. It looks as if we’re going back to the 1920’s. Please stop it. You should work to improve the country — not destroy it.

    From 5 years ago, I saw a deterioration in the island — and its a shame!!!

    Foreigners building hotels will take the money out of the country. Give the workers a mega wage. This money should be for Grenada. And stop selling out our beaches. They are for the Grenadian people.

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