|►General Information||►Past Election Information|
Election Report For The 1994 Election
|Dissolution of Parliament||18th. day of February, 1994|
|Nomination Date||25th. day of February, 1994|
|Election Date||Tuesday 8th. day of March, 1994|
|Election Hours||6:00 am - 6:00 pm|
REPORT ON THE 1994 GENERAL ELECTIONS
IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
To: The Hon. Lester Bryant Bird
Antigua and Barbuda
I have the honour to submit to you a Report on the General Elections held in Antigua and Barbuda on Tuesday 8th March, 1994.
Following months of speculation as to the date of the next General Elections, the issue was laid to rest when the Governor-General acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister as provided in Section 61 of the Constitution, dissolved Parliament on the 18th day of February, 1994. Writs of Election were issued the following day and delivered to the Supervisor of Elections who transmitted them to the seventeen Returning Officers on the same day they were served.
The Writs of Election fixed Friday the twenty-fifth of February, 1994 as the day for nomination of Candidates. Tuesday 8th day of March, 1994 was appointed as the date on which the impending General Elections shall be held, and Wednesday ninth of March, 1994 as the latest date on which the Writs shall be returnable to the Governor-General.
There was no change in the boundaries of the seventeen constituencies as the Constituencies Boundaries Commission which was appointed earlier on 15th February, 1993 did not recommend any changes. Thus the boundaries used for the 1989 General Elections were stifi applicable. The 1993 Registers of Electors totalling 43,749 which were already published during the latter part of that year, were the ones used on Polling Day as the General elections preceded the next annual registration not scheduled until July 1 to July 7, 1994.
At the close of nomination of candidates held on Friday 25th February, 1994, thirty-eight candidates were validly nominated to contest the Elections in all seventeen constituencies. The Antigua Labour Party contested all 17 seats, the United Progressive Party contested 16 seats, the Barbuda People’s Movement contested 1 seat, and there were 4 Independent candidates. As required under Section 14 of the Election Rules details of the Nomination were published in the Official Gazette, No. 12, dated Saturday 26th February, 1994.
Electoral Officials not in possession of a copy of the Representation of the People Act, 1975 were each issued a copy, and a series of meetings designed to bring any new election officials together with seasoned election officers, acquainted with all salient aspects of the law were held. Manuals for the guidance of Returning Officers, Presiding Officers and Poll clerks were also issued to them respectively. In addition, two meetings with all electoral officials at which the public could attend and ask questions, were held at the Methodist Church Hall. These were most successful and served to clarify certain grey areas, in particular, the situation where an elector’s name was inadvertently omitted from the register of Electors. It was pointed out that in such an event if the matter was brought to the attention of the Supervisor of Elections in good time steps could be taken to reinsert the name. However, such action could not be taken on Polling Day. Despite these announcements their were persons whose names were not on the Electors List which were apparently inadvertently omitted, beseeching me on Election Day to authorise Presiding Officers to allow them to vote. This request was steadfastly refused as it would be unwise and unfair to alter any of the Register of Electors on the day of voting. Another area of concern which I believe may have contributed to some voters who are reluctant to vote, doing so, is the widespread perception that electoral officials insist on voters folding their ballot paper in such a way as to allow those officials to discern for whom their vote was cast. At every opportunity, the Supervisor of Elections made it quite clear that the ballot paper may be folded in any manner provided the official mark can clearly be seen by the Presiding Officer.
The opportunity was taken to re-employ past and experienced officials. However, a few were replaced because it appeared wise to do so due to their apparent open display of partiality towards certain candidates. This measure helped in no small way to maintain and preserve the dignity, integrity and impartiality of Election Officials.
Election results are sought with understandable frenzy and every step should be taken to accommodate the need to know results as soon as they are available. The Supervisor of Elections with the ready assistance of the Antigua Public Utilities Authority, particularly Mr. Richards and his Technicians installed four additional telephones at Elections Office, one of which was assigned to the Public Information Department, The phones were in constant use and courtesies were extended to overseas media personnel approved by the Supervisor of Elections. Also, the A.P.U.A. installed a telephone if it was necessary, at all seventeen Counting Stations so that voting results could be given immediately at the conclusion of counting each ballot box. Cable & Wireless Ltd. through its subsidiary Boatphone Ltd. also provided communication assistance in providing 20 boatphones to Returning Officers, the Revising Officer and other Election Officials so that constant contact could be maintained.
On the day of Poll, the Supervisor of Elections visited some stations and was pleased to see how orderly and patient electors waited in the long queues to vote. From all accounts, except for one minor incident at Greenbay, voting progressed steadily and peacefully and no election misconduct was reported to me.
Following the close of the Poll, and after the necessary procedures required under Section 49(1), (2) and (3) of the Election Rules has been scupulously adhered to. Returning Officers carried out the appropriate preliminaries then proceeded promptly with the count. Results came through early, the first such was received approximately 7:30p.m. From then on, there was a steady flow of election results from all the counting stations. This information was given to the Public Information Department Officer stationed at Election Office for immediate public consumption. During this time the Supervisor of Elections also met other media staff, local and overseas, including Mr. David Beard Associated Press representative for the Caribbean and a friend - Jamaica Kincaid.
After the count and declaration of the results in accordance with section 56(1) of the Election Rules, Returning Officers are required to deliver personally all election documents, certificates, materials etc. and the Writs of Election to the Supervisor of Elections. The last such delivery was not made until quite
close to 1:30a.m. the next day. This was not the fault of the Returning Officer, as that constituency has 4244 electors, at least 400 more than the one closest in number to it and polling was heaviest there. There is probably a need to redefine the boundaries of St. John’s Rural West along with those of some other constituencies.
In closing, I wish to direct your attention to the appendix where some recommendations and it observations have been documented. Since they are self-explanatory there isn’ t any need to make further mention of them here.
Finally, I wish to echo the words of one of my predecessors in his 1989 Election Report. In praising his office staff he said, “I cannot praise them enough except to say ‘I commend them highly’ “. When the going got tough during the election period and particularly on Polling Day, all staff gave of their best thus ensuring that nothing went amiss.
The highest praise also to the entire staff of the Government Printery. Mr. Charity and his team cooperated fully with this office, and at no time was it felt that any election documents at the Printery would not be delivered on time. We felt safe. We thank them sincerely.
Special praise and thanks to Mr. Ivor Forde of the Public Information department who arranged with is Cable & Wireless for the office to have the use of a Fax machine and 20 Boatphones referred previously.
I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the ministry of Legal Affairs Personnel if from the Ministry were always ready and willing to give legal advice and direction on any matter referred to them. They were also present at public sessions which were held to explain registration, voting and other electoral matters. Here, I should also mention, the very important assistance given at all times by the Revising Officer.
Mr. Dennis Smith of Barbados, Elections Consultant, provided valuable assistance to the Supervisor and his Staff; and in all respects we relied heavily on him for his advice, particularly, in regard to problems which could arise “at an election”. We thank him sincerely.
The Commissioner of Police, his Officers and Constables must be accorded the highest praise. Not only did they give exemplary service as expected of them at all the numerous stations (100 in all), they readily and ably assisted Returning Officers in transporting the very large ballot boxes to their final destination at the Supervisor of Elections Office. Without them, matters could have gone awry. In future, returning Officers would have to hire larger vehicles, if necessary, in order to transport all the ballot boxes etc. at the same time in their presence, and accompanied by two policemen as required by law.
Again let me thank the A.P.U.A. and Cable & Wireless for their valued and treasured assistance in providing most necessary communication system.
The media never failed to perform and in every way cooperated with the Supervisor of elections. This applies to both local and overseas media personnel, particularly on Election Day. Many thanks to them.
Every election year, a large body of officials are called upon to perform almost perfectly. These dedicated and hard-working officials have never failed. They are our respected, qualified and loyal officials. To our Seventeen Returning Officers, one hundred Presiding Officers, two hundred Poll Clerks and Messengers, the highest praise and thanks for a job very well done is warmly extended.
The public and particularly the electorate on election day displayed good behaviour and for this we were most grateful.
I wish to thank the Government most profoundly for its confidence in me in appointing me Supervisor of Elections, and I also thank the Government and individual Ministers of Government for expressing satisfaction at the professional way my staff and I carried out our duties during the 1994 General Elections.
I am grateful to the opposition, the United Progressive Party for their kind expression of satisfaction at the professional way I interacted with them; and I am particularly pleased that the Governor-General Sir James Carlisle expressed delight at the way the General Elections was conducted and also that few can dispute it was free and fair.
I have the honour
to be Sir,
Richard A. John,
Supervisor of Elections.
OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS?
1. Re-registration of all eligible electors (To remove dead voters names and solve duplicate registration).
2. Extend registration period (if not continuous, to meet most if not all eligible voters wishing to register).
3. Voter registration ID card (picture, job, occupation, address etc.). (Bank pass-book size with several pages for recording times voted).
4. Revision of Registration Qualification (who qualifies and qualification period).
5. Removal of the requirement to place the number of the elector as stated in the copy of the register of electors on the ba1 paper counterfoil (to eliminate the perception that the intention is to check to see how persons voted, the secret official mark is sufficient to authenticate ballots cast in the event of a petition).
6. Establishment of an Election Boundaries Commission to re-map constituencies.
7. New registration and voting systems that would provide more statistical data such as, ffie number Qf woinei registered and the number that voted, the number of persons registered and voting for ibe first time, the number of 18-year-olds who have registered and voted for the first time.
8. Develop manuals for guidance of:
(a) candidates - particularly new ones on the political scene;
(c) political agents.
9. More frequent use of the media to explain registration and voting procedures to the e.g
(a) mock voting on TV;
(b) panel discussion on radio;
(c) fliers circulated in newspapers.
10. Establishing of an Electoral Commission made up of Government and Opposition members. Supervisor of Elections ex-officio non-voting member as advisor.
11. Sponsor civic education programmes to familiarise the public with registration and election rules and procedures.
SCHEDULE “A” shows Writ issued to Returning Officers in each Constituency
SCHEDULE “B” shows number of persons nominated in each Constituency.
SCHEDULE “C” shows the duly elected candidates for each Constituency.
SCHEDULE D shows a comparative breakdown - Constituency by Constituency for 1989 and 1994 General Elections.
SCHEDULE “E” statement showing the number of votes cast for each Candidate in the Polling Stations of Polling Divisions in each Constituency.
SCHEDULE “F’ shows the summary of electors of Constituencies in Polling Divisions.
SCHEDULE “G” shows the results of the 1994 General Election.
SCHEDULE “H” shows the breakdown results of 1994 General Election.
SCHEDULE “I” shows Individual Breakdown of Election Results 1994.
SCHEDULE “J” shows Total Number of Votes polled in each Constituency for 1994.
|List of Candidates who lost their deposits:|
|Egbert Uriah Joseph||$500.00|