CCJ sits today to hear appeal by St Lucian to be included in B'dos Electoral List
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will hold an emergency hearing today as a St Lucian-born academic challenges the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) to have his name included on the electoral list.
CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron will head a five-member panel of judges to hear the matter. The CCJ is Barbados’s highest court.
Political observers said that this matter has implications not only for the appellant but also for Commonwealth citizens, living in Barbados, who want to be registered to vote in the May 24 general elections.
Professor Eddy Ventose, 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.
The Court of Appeal earlier this week ruled that Ventose was entitled to be registered to vote but stopped short of compelling the Chief Electoral Officer to do so, instead, ordering the Chief Electoral Officer to determine Professor Ventose’s claim within 24 hours.
Ventose is asking the CCJ to declare that his name should be on the final voters’ list ahead of its publication this week.
The CCJ said that the request for appeal came to the CCJ late Friday and it responded by scheduling the hearing for today.
The CCJ said that the hearing will be live-streamed and broadcast-quality audio and video files will be available for all representatives of the media after the hearing.
Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal paved the way for Commonwealth nationals residing in Barbados for more than three years could be included in the list of voters.
Attorney Gregory Nicholls, who is among a group of lawyers representing Ventose and three other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals, said that the Court of Appeal threw out long standing rules that barred Commonwealth citizens resident here for three years from voting.
He said the Appellate Court had ruled that the EBC and Chief Electoral Officer unlawfully refused to register his clients on the electoral list.