PHILIPSBURG–Democratic Party (DP) leader, Sarah Wescot-Williams said government had no choice, but to change the dissolution decree, because it had been “unlawful.”
She, however, noted that the new dates “are conveniently set,” because the mandatory three month period that should exist between the date of the dissolution of parliament and the swearing in of the new parliament is not adhered to. “This should be so according to the… constitution. What will be government’s excuse now?” she asked.
Wescot-Williams made the statements in an invited comment on the Council of Ministers decision to postpone snap parliamentary elections from February 8, to 26, 2018. Nomination day is now set for January 5, instead of yesterday, Monday and the new parliament will be sworn in on April 2.
Wescot-Williams said residents were “left in the dark” until last Sunday evening about the change. “I don’t think the government had a choice, but to change the decree, because as I said before, it was unlawful. Nevertheless we [DP – Ed] were prepared for postulation (on Monday),” she said. “People still felt it was a trick. Imagine the little confidence in government. No excuses can take away from the fact that it was a hasty decision leading to many mistakes.”
“It also shows that this whole discussion about the supremacy of Article 59 is being used conveniently. To now blame it on the Electoral Law not being up to date is childish. Was no check done for discrepancies before the decree was submitted for signature?
Wescot-Williams, who is also the Chairperson of Parliament, said “we are all in all, a sad state of affairs leading to more frustration amongst the population, already reeling from (Hurricane) Irma.”
The postponement of the elections has addressed many of the legal concerns of the Central Voting Bureau whose Chairman Jason Rogers had told The Daily Herald on Sunday that the Bureau is now comfortable to organise a free and transparent parliamentary election.
Rogers said changing of the date of election means that the legal requirements for an election will be met in accordance with the electoral ordinance. New voting booths and ballot bins have been ordered and are expected to arrive in the country in six weeks. Assistance from within the Kingdom is also expected to be provided as it relates to public order and safety.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/70924-sarah-says-new-dates-still-not-in-conformity-with-law