CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, CMC – Voters in this small Eastern Caribbean island were voting Monday to elect members to the Nevis Island Administration following a campaign highlighted by accusations of fraud and a court ruling that the election must proceed as scheduled.
Supervisor of Elections Benjamin Leroy says everything is in place for the polls despite opposition claims that the names of at least 300 people had been taken off the official voters list.
“We are right on track …everything is ready for Monday,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
A five –member observer team from the Organization of American States (OAS) headed by Paul Spencer an Advisor to the OAS Secretary General from Antigua and Barbuda, is monitoring the polls.
Both the ruling Nevis reformation Party (NRP) of Premier Joseph Parry and the main opposition Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) led by former premier Vance Armory are fielding candidates for all five constituencies.
In the last election in 2006, the NRP won three seats as against the two for the CCM, with the eight-member NIA being completed by the nomination of three members.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrice Nisbett, who is contesting the election on behalf of the NRP, said that over the past five years, there has been a healthy working relationship between the Federal Government in Basseterre and the NIA.
“The campaign strategy of the CCM is that they have injected the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis into the local Nevis politics,” he said, adding that “the people of Nevis recognise that better working relationship between St. Kits and Nevis is in the best interest of the people of Nevis”.
But Opposition Leader Mark Brantley said he is confident that the voters will return his party to power given the policies and programmes highlighted during the election campaign.
“Our campaign has been one of restoration, decency and good governance to the island. We have seen in Nevis increased taxes, increased expenditure, increased island debt. We have brought some specific plans and programmes addressing the youth, the elderly, as we say we have taken it from cradle to grave and we have a comprehensive package of programmes that we feel will resonate with the electorate”.
Last week, High Court judge Mario Michel dismissed an application from the CCM for an injunction to stop the elections on the grounds that the names of 300 voters had been taken off the official list.
However, the judge also ruled that the authorities reinstate the names of five persons that had been removed from the list.
The results of the elections are expected at least two hours after the polls close. CMC/11
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