Mr. Franklyn Earle Morton aka ‘Shot” is from Rawlins, Gingerland. He is over 60 years old and had lived in Rawlins Village for his entire life until migrating to the USA over 20 years ago. Sometime in 2008, aided and abetted by his sister’s boyfriend Egbert Halliday, Mr. Morton and other members of his family registered as voters in Bailey’s Yard, St. John’s where Halliday’s brother owns a home. I became aware of this when Halliday boasted at the Barber’s Shop one Sunday that he had successfully registered to vote in St. John’s. He went on to demonstrate in graphic and obscene details what he would do to Hensley with his index finger on Election Day. At that time Halliday was well over 60 years and had never ever lived in St. John’s. I immediately filed objections to these persons at the Electoral Office but these were denied on the grounds that they were filed after the stipulated objection period. Halliday never got to vote in St. John’s. I remain convinced that his shocking demise shortly after that boastful Sunday was as a result of divine intervention for the deliberate dastardly wrongs that he had committed on the electoral system in 2008.
When we met to evaluate the 2010 election results we all agreed that we had lapsed badly in managing the voters list and pledged to do better in this area. I promised my team and agents that it would be the last time that ‘Shot’ and countless others who had never ever lived in St. John’s voted in the constituency. On the publication of the voters lists on January 31, 2010, I filed objections to the inclusion of these persons. To my surprise and disappointment the Registration Officer refused to hear these objections when the Electoral Act clearly makes provisions for such objections. This year however, on the January 31 publication of the list I was very happy when the Supervisor of Elections said in a public broadcast that any voter can object to any name on the voters list on or before February 10.
NRP agents filed a number of objections to the names of persons who were wrongly registered in St. John’s. CCM agents did the same and supported their objections by providing the Registration Officer with copies of Judge Belle’s rulings in similar cases in St. Kitts. The CCM leadership fought internally for weeks whether to go through with their objections. In the end, their leader whose name was objected to in Gingerland won the battle and CCM withdrew some of their objections and refused to attend hearings for the others. NRP objectors remained steadfast and adamant that the wrongs must be corrected. We presented our cases backed by sound evidence and were successful in getting the Registration Officer to uphold most of our objections.
“Shot” is barefaced and bold as brass! He has no shame! He has never ever lived in St. John’s! Yet CCM brought him home to vote in St. John’s last month. He made several unsuccessful attempts throughout the day to vote at Cox. He stood in the line for hours on numerous occasions with the sun blazing down on his red face, taking up space and frustrating and harassing legitimate voters and electoral officials. He should have been made to pay for his stupidity! He should have been locked up, held for 72 hours so he could feel it in the pocket when he returned late for his job in the USA.
Meredith Wheeler was “Shot’s” neighbour in Rawlins Village. Her family home is directly opposite that of the Mortons on Rawlins Road. She lived in Rawlins her entire life before migrating to the USA about 20 years ago. In December 2010 she returned to Nevis on vacation and registered as a voter in Morning Star, St. John’s. Her name stood out erroneously on the January 2011 list of monthly voters. Colin Tyrell objected to her name on behalf of CCM and I objected on behalf of NRP. We both attended the hearing at the end of January. When the Registration Officer asked Colin if he knew Ms. Wheeler he replied in the negative. He had not done his research. It seemed that he just had a hunch, a sixth sense that it was wrong for this person to register in St. John’s. But I had done my research on Ms. Wheeler. I told the Registration Officer that she was formerly Meredith Walters; that I had taught her at Gingerland Secondary; that she had worked at National Bank and that she did not qualify to register in St. John’s having lived in Gingerland all her life before migrating to the USA.
Like her neighbour ‘Shot’ Ms Wheeler is bold as brass, barefaced and shameless. She had the audacity to call ‘On the Mark’ to protest the removal of her name from the voters list. Just last week she had some silly ranting and raving in the Observer, which proves that she is still hurting from the lawful intervention by the Registration Officer to subvert her illegal actions. To her credit though she was not as stupid as ‘Shot’ to come home to vote knowing her name was not on the list.
Since that Sunday at the Barber’s Shop I have taken full responsibility for the management of the St. John’s voters lists on behalf of NRP. It is not an easy undertaking. Local Gingerland residents are encouraged by the CCM leadership and agents to illegally register in St. John’s on a daily basis. Gingerlanders residing overseas with no connections to St John’s are also encouraged to do so when they return home. I am accused, abused and vilified by CCM agents and supporters on a daily basis for my consistent and sustained efforts to keep voters list clean and uncompromised. I will remain vigilant and steadfast in my pledge to guard the voters list from illegal registration and manipulation and thereby defend democracy to its fullest. I will continue to do my utmost to keep the voters list honest and clean. Under my incisive scrutiny the St. John’s Constituency will maintain a level playing field for a fair game of politics.
The wrongs have been corrected. Scores of persons mainly from Gingerland who were deliberately illegally registered to vote in St. John’s have been lawfully removed from the voters list. I now encourage these same persons to go to the Electoral Office and register to vote where they currently live on Nevis or where they last lived if they now reside overseas. The Electoral Act is a good law and it is working well. Many persons in leadership positions including Ministers of Religion have not taken the time to educate themselves on the law or to investigate and conduct research into these matters. They have allowed unscrupulous politicians to mislead them. They have followed their politically biased members instead of leading them. They have allowed their own bias to put them in compromising and embarrassing positions. I am not a Christian and therefore not an expert on sin or confession but I know when something is wrong and I know that every wrong must be corrected. I took the right steps to right the wrong! The Registration Officer considered the evidence and fairly applied the law. The wrongs have been corrected! Let common sense prevail! Jah bless!