According to a government release, the Governor-General, after consultation with the Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, the Premier Joseph Parry and the Leader of the Opposition Mark Brantley, has in exercised the powers conferred on him, by Section 34 (2) of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis, to appoint Mr. Raphael A. Archibald, MBE to exercise the functions of the office of Supervisor of Elections, with effect from 2ndOctober, 2012.
In a Federal Government statement on 31st August, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Denzil Douglas, who is also the minister responsible for elections, announced that on Thursday, 30th August, Benjamin resigned from the post as Supervisor of Elections in the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis.
Leroy Benjamin and Registration Officer Bernadette Lawrence both resigned following a court ruling in which they were severely criticized by the Appeals Court of the Eastern Caribbean, for the part they played in the disenfranchisement of 203 voters in Nevis, during the 2011 Island Assembly elections.
With the court also ruling that a by-election must be called to fill the St. John’s Constituency seat, which they declared vacant, due to the election irregularities, that poll must be held within 90 days of the 27th August, 2012, ruling. One month has already passed and political tensions in Nevis have been mounting, as parties there increase activities with weekend rallies and public meetings.
The opposition Concerned Citizens Movement had been stepping up its demands for the Governor General to exercise his authority to appoint the new Supervisor of Elections, expressing concerns that the deadline for the required by-election was fast approaching but yet no replacement for Benjamin had been identified or confirmed.
With the appointment of Archibald, it is now expected that work would begin with some urgency to put the necessary systems in place to prepare for the by-election. However, only 2 more months remain.