(Dr Terrence Drew)
Commentary By: Dr. Terrence Drew
SKN PULSE, Thursday 5th March, 2015 – The following is a commentary posted by Dr. Terrence Drew, this morning, Thursday 5th March, 2015.
Good morning to all, I wish all of you a blessed day.
There are a few concerns that I wish to share with respect to the boundary realignment case where a proclamation was held suspended by the Privy Council and the Electoral Office with its employees since the day after elections.
So far as I understand, the Proclamation has never been deemed illegal. Therefore, there are no old boundaries so if elections were held today, it would be on the only boundaries that exist which are those proclaimed by the sitting Governor General. The issue of the boundary change is not just pure politics but a matter of equal rights and justice. Let’s examine this carefully.
I won the second largest number of votes in the whole Federation. How can this be? I won more votes than Sean Richards and Dr. Norgen Wilson combined. This is a real shameful situation and reflects badly on our democracy. That is why it is interesting to note that persons fought tirelessly to have the elections on unfair boundaries while saying that they believe in fairness. As a result, the people of Constituency 8 are at a real disadvantage when it comes to distribution of resources. Hence, no fair share will come to us.
The Constitution assumes that all Constituencies have approximately the same number of inhabitants. If one wants to argue that it’s not about voters but inhabitants, the evidence is even clearer. The last census showed that about 8000 people live in Constituency 8 while only 2500 live in Constituency 5. This is really an injustice.
Additionally, Labour won about 1000 more votes than PAM and PLP. No wonder the majority on the island feels such a sense of injustice when it comes to the boundary matter. They won 5 seats and still lost the popular vote by such a significant margin.
So now that the boundaries are changed let’s see what will be done for the next elections. Would there be ‘gerrymandering’?
Moreover, since the elections, the Electoral Office has been closed with party supporters having free access while the workers appointed by the Governor General have been sent to the NEMA building to be questioned.
The shut out of offices and the subsequent questioning are what used to happen to black people at the hands of the plantocracy before the rise of Labour. At least people’s basic pride and dignity should be respected. This is an injustice and there should be legal recourse. For these reasons and more, I say this new government has been making some grave and unwarranted mistakes that would come back to haunt them in the future.
Additionally, the Supervisor of Elections is not allowed free access to his office. This is a real travesty of what is reasonable. The Constitution dictates the role of the Supervisor. I have been asking the fundamental question, when would he release all the numbers from the Feb. 16 polls? How can he do this when he cannot access his office freely? There are ballots at the office so if there is a challenge from Constituency 4, can we truly say that the ballots are sterile? This is a serious question.
Since the elections the Country has been at a standstill. There are no spontaneous parties, spending has dropped significantly and the streets are ‘dead’ as one person explained to me.
Contrast this to Antigua and Barbuda where they partied for days and even those who lost conceded as they thought that all was fair. Our situation seems different. There are questions about the flights from overseas. Did the non-arrivals affect the outcome of the elections? Whether true or not all are asking this question. Moreover, if the legal Proclamation made by the sitting GG was not suspended would the results be the same? With these fundamental questions hovering in the minds of our people the question of fairness looms and this might be the reason for the quietness except in the areas of crime and motor vehicle accident.
These are real serious questions that must be answered.
Lastly, it’s about 2 weeks now and we are still awaiting a big announcement about a policy initiative. The new PM lost the opportunity when he spoke about crime. It was filled with nice words but empty on substance for not even one new policy was launched.
Let’s continue to work hard to keep our Nation at Number One even though many are asking about their $500 per month, VAT- free on high end foods, $16 million for sugar workers, 2000 homes, lower electricity rate, putting SIDF in the Consolidated Fund, stop the ‘selling of our passports ‘, giving Nevis its hundred million and at the same time decrease the National Debt.
Have a great day all!
Posted by SKN PULSE.