Anguilla Election Copies St. Kitts – Nevis’ Elections

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Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
February 15, 2010 (CUOPM)

The use by the Anguillian electoral authorities of the indelible ink used in the January 25th general elections in St. Kitts and Nevis, is a sign of confidence in the electoral process in the twin-island Federation.

Anguilla’s Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Colville Petty told CMC’s Kaymar Jordan that efforts were made to strengthen the balloting system and to limit the possibility of persons voting twice, with the introduction of indelible ink that has been brought in from neighbouring St. Kitts.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Leroy Benjamin, said he was extremely happy to provide the ink to the Anguilla electoral authorities.

“Like us here in St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla wants to prevent double voting. We had some ink left and we were very happy to provide assistance in ensuring free and fair elections,” said Mr. Benjamin.

The use of the ink used in the St. Kitts election by Anguilla, is also seen as a slap in the face of the St. Kitts opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) of Mr. Lindsay Grant, which complained of the ink in the January 25th poll in which 60 percent of the eligible voters on St. Kitts rejected the PAM party.

The quality of the ink in St. Kitts was raised by the PAM, whose political leader and candidates complained officially to the OAS Observer Mission.

In its report, the OAS said it heard complaints from PAM that, when applied, the indelible ink appeared diluted and could be easily removed.

“With the permission of the Presiding Officers, several OAS observers placed their fingers in the ink and tried immediately to remove it.  Despite their efforts, the ink quickly deepened in colour and permanence. In addition to the indelible ink, other safeguards to avoid double voting and voter misrepresentation were in place.  Presiding officers identified electors by asking them their name, address and occupation in the presence of the party agents who verified that information on their respective lists.  Electors were also asked to produce identification and most presented their voter identification cards.  The identifications were cross-checked with a photographic list of registered voters,” said the OAS Report.

Petty said there is no voter identification system in Anguilla, “but we are also asking persons to travel with passports or other form of identification in the event that it is needed” on Monday.

Anguilla’s election is a three-way fight between the incumbent Anguilla United Front (AUF), led by former finance minister Victor Banks; the Anguilla United Movement  (AUM) of former chief minister Hubert Hughes and the Anguilla Progressive Party (APP) of businessman Brent Davis. There are also three independents, making for a total of 20 duly nominated candidates.

Banks, who has succeeded the retiring Osbourne Fleming and is taking the AUF into the February 15 election, told CMC he was expecting to make “a clean sweep” of the polls. The incumbent party is the only one that is fielding a full slate of seven candidates.

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