Wed | Jun 26, 2019

Commonwealth citizens in Barbados go to court in last ditch effort to vote in upcoming elections

Published:Friday | May 18, 2018 | 2:46 PM

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – At least 14 Commonwealth nationals have gone to court Friday in a last-ditch effort for their names to be included in the voter's list to be used in the May 24 general elections in Barbados.

The details of the court action have not been made public, but earlier this week, the attorneys representing the Commonwealth citizens resident in Barbados had called for the Chief Electoral Officer Angela Taylor to have their clients registered ahead of the polls in keeping with a recent ruling by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

In their May 16, 2018 letter to Taylor, the attorneys asserted that they are in possession of the CCJ ruling that endorsed the ruling of the Barbados Chief Justice “that your longstanding policy was ultra vires and unlawful but also pronounced that you have an obligation, once an applicant satisfies the criteria for registration under section 7 and the formal requirements under the Act and Regulations, to register that applicant.”

The CCJ ruled on Sunday that a St. Lucian-born academic should be registered as an elector to cast a ballot in the May 24 general elections and warned the Chief Elections Officer that failure to carry out the order by midday on Monday, May 14, could land her in jail for contempt of court or be fined.

In an unprecedented hearing, the CCJ, which is the Barbados final court, said that Eddy Ventose, a professor of law at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), had satisfied “the necessary legal and regulatory conditions for registration as an elector”.

Ventose and three other Commonwealth nationals were registered on Monday.

Barbadians go to the polls next Thursday to elect a new government with the contest expected to be between the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) headed by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) headed by Mia Mottley, who is seeking to become the first woman head of government.

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