by Linda Straker
- NNP denies chartering flights to bring Grenadians from New York to vote in general election
- NDC political leader warned those not ordinarily residing in Grenada could be committing voter fraud if they participate in the election.
Roland Bhola, Campaign Manager for the ruling New National Party (NNP), has denied reports made by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the party has chartered flights to bring Grenadians from New York to vote in the 13 March General Election.
“This is absolutely untrue. We have not chartered any flight or flights. What I can say is that there are Grenadians who are registered as electors that are presently in different parts of the diaspora who are inquiring about the rules to confirm if they are qualified to vote,” said Bhola who also admitted that the party has support groups in New York, Canada and the United Kingdom.
At a public meeting on Sunday, Nazim Burke Political Leader of the NDC said that his party had information that the NNP has chartered 3 planes for persons primarily from the USA to bring them to Grenada to vote.
He warned that those who are not ordinarily residing in Grenada could be committing voter fraud if they participate in the election.
“Section 6 of the People’s Representation law makes it absolutely clear that the only people who are qualified to vote in Grenada, are people who are ordinarily resident. If you are living in America and you ordinarily live in America, you have no right coming and vote in an election,” Burke said.
However, the Office of the Parliamentary Election Office said that the law makes it clear who are qualified to vote and who are not qualified to vote during an election. “Section 6 of the act has the qualifying clauses and persons must know that in order to vote. One first be registered and to register there are mandatory requirements and the law is our guide,” said Ferdinand Phillip, Civic and Education Officer at the PEO.
Section 6 of the act which is labelled ‘Entitlement to registration’ says a person shall be entitled to be registered as an elector in any one constituency if he —
(a) is a citizen of Grenada; or
(b) is a Commonwealth citizen, who has resided in Grenada for a period of at least 12 months immediately before the date of his registration;
(c) has attained the age of 18 years; and
(d) is ordinarily resident in that constituency.
“For the purposes of registration under this act and the rules, a person is deemed, subject to this act, to reside in the polling division in which he was ordinarily resident, immediately prior to his registration,” the law states.
The law further said in section 7 that a person is disqualified as an elector [if he/she] has been sentenced by a court in any part of the commonwealth to death, or to imprisonment for a term exceeding 12 months, and has not either suffered the punishment as may have been substituted by a competent authority, unless he received a free pardon.
Other disqualifications are a person adjudged to be of unsound mind by a qualified medical practitioner; a person has been detained as a criminal lunatic under any law in force in the state; a person is disqualified for registration as an elector, by any law in force in the state relating to offences connected with elections.
The law also states that each registered person has the right to remain registered unless and until his name is deleted from the current list, by the Supervisor of Elections, where the Supervisor of Elections determines that, since the publication of the current list, that person has —
(b) left Grenada and has not been ordinarily resident in that constituency for a period exceeding 12 months, not being a citizen of Grenada;
(c) ceased to be ordinarily resident in Grenada for a period exceeding five years, being a citizen of Grenada;
(d) become ordinarily resident in another constituency;
(e) had an objection to his registration allowed; or
(f) otherwise ceased to be qualified by virtue of this Act or any other law.