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The United Workers Party (UWP) has raised concerns about the Electoral Department’s proposed plan to remove 30,000 names from the list of electors.
Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Guy Joseph, during a press conference on Thursday questioned how the Electoral Department came up with the figure and said a proper explanation must be provided.
The former Communication and Works Minister said he finds it strange that the Electoral Department has now decided to come forward with this information, especially given that general elections could be called soon.
The Castries South East MP said in his constituency alone, the number of voters must have increased by almost 2,000, which should reflect an increase in the voters list and not a decrease.
Joseph said he understands that once a citizen has been out of the country for more than five years, their names would be automatically removed, but said he has some issues with that.
“I can tell you there are people who go to Martinique every two weeks and they are back in Saint Lucia and their names are there to be removed. And they are people who have been people who have been out of the country for close to 10 years and their names and not down to be removed,” he stated.
The Opposition MP said he finds the move “highly questionable,” and would only create more chaos for the upcoming elections if it is not sorted out properly. “Any right thinking Saint Lucian would know that this action is very suspicious. It is an action that questions our democracy. The basic human right that people fought so much for, was the right to vote.”
Meanwhile, UWP Leader Allen Chastanet said while he respects the work of the Electoral Department, he is surprised that such an idea is suddenly being put on the table for consideration.
“You cannot take an action on the eve of an election to take away 30,000 names when there is no proper explanation as to how those people names got there in the first place,” he stated.
Chastanet made reference to issues with voters list in the Caribbean, which has created major catastrophe. “Look at what took place in St. Kitts when they attempted to change the boundaries commission. Look at the chaos taking place in St. Vincent because people are questioning the list,” he stated.
The political leader told the media that he has received word that on the day of election, there will be a new revised list, along with a unverified list, which he dubbed as being flawed.
The UWP has written the Electoral Department requesting that they extend the deadline by one month, but the party only received verbal communication that the Department may go in this direction.
The party said it plans to conduct its own investigations, because there are many Saint Lucians, who are off the island for various reasons and this does not mean they are not returning home to vote.
The Opposition is urging the Electoral Department to inform voters before deleting their names from the voters list.
The party plans to write the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Organization of American States (OAS), Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) on this issue.