Attorney General explains elections counting process

While ‘Team Unity’ was declared winner by the supervisor of elections, winning seven of the eleven seats on offer in the Federal Elections, controversy brewed over the abrupt stoppage of the counting process and the late announcement of the results.

A week has passed since the general elections, but the official tally of the individual constituencies is yet to be released.

Lawyer within the coalition and new Attorney General Vincent Byron explained to the process that should be followed after the voting process has been closed.

“The National Assembly Act Cap 2.01 says that the returning officer, the person who is responsible at the constituency level, gets a Writ of Elections from the Governor General. He is the one entrusted in making sure that the count is done properly at the poll, and once he gets the count and is satisfied that it is properly done, it is then returned on that day to the supervisor of elections,” Byron said.

Byron continued, “He (the governor general) makes the final decision because he is the sole judge.  If someone wants to challenge the decision of the returning officer, you carry out an elections petition. But that is a legal challenge after the day.”  Byron explained

However, one of the arguments put forward by the supervisor of elections for the late announcement of the results was that he needed to get the correct tally, before he made an announcement, because a challenge was being put forward.

But Attorney General Byron was of the view that the supervisor of elections had no discretion to indicate that a challenge was being made, since there is a process which should be followed when a contest is being made by a party on elections results.

“It is not his discretion. He has no discretion to determine that. His job is to forward the Writ back to the governor general, and he in turn will then send it back to the supervisor of election.

“He has not discretion to determine any question of contest or whatever. That is not his role.” The attorney general stated.

Prime Minster Dr. Timothy Harris and his Cabinet were official installed as the new Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, on Sunday, in front of a large gathering at Warner Park, which included several representatives of CARICOM member countries and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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