Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — On Monday June 01, 2015, the Electoral Office in St. Kitts reopened its doors to the general public, where business will resume as normal.
In an exclusive interview with SKNIS, the Attorney General, Hon Vincent Byron gave an update on the electoral office and explained the reason for its closure.
“Following the reporting of the returns by the Acting Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Wingrove George, and suspension of these returns between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on the morning of February 17, there has since been serious concern among citizens that there was something wrong at the Electoral Office,” Hon. Byron stated. “Two days later it was brought to the attention of the government that the Electoral Office had been broken into and ballot boxes stored at the office had been breached.”
Hon. Byron mentioned that a report of the findings was given to the police.
“The matter was referred to the police,” he said. “Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris reported to the nation that there was to be an extensive investigation which included the conduct of election and what transpired the days leading up to election.”
He explained that the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Superintendent Charles Smitten had been heading an investigation into the breaches at the Electoral Office.
“The investigations are still ongoing,” the Attorney General said. “Certain revelations that had occurred, have led to an expansion of the investigation by the police and also by a team of forensic investigators that were brought in from London. The team had been looking at damaged computer servers and equipment.”
Attorney General Byron explained the process by which appointments are made with regards to the Electoral Office.
“The electoral system in St. Kitts and Nevis is headed by an Electoral Commission,” he stated. “The chairman of the commission is appointed by the Governor General in his own deliberate judgement. There are two other members of the electoral commission; one appointed by the Governor General from nominations by the Prime Minister and one appointed by the Governor General from nominations by the Leader of the Opposition.”
He pointed out that these appointments are still to be made by His Excellency the Governor General S.W. Tapley Seaton who is presently consulting with both Prime Minister Harris and the Leader of the Opposition.
Similarly, an announcement will also be made on the appointment of the Supervisor of Elections, who will be appointed by the Governor General, after consultations with the Prime Minister, the Premier of Nevis and the Leader of the Opposition.
The Attorney General stated that “it is the government’s intention to restore democracy, transparency and integrity back into the electoral process in St. Kitts and Nevis.”