Barbuda by-election to start on time: Returning Officer

By the end of today, the Barbuda Council is expected to have its full complement of nine elected members owing to the by-election that’s schedule to be conducted today.

All is already set for the election to replace Trevor Walker of the Barbuda People’s Movement who had to resign after he became the elected parliamentary representative for Barbuda last month.

The Returning Officer responsible for the election, Vernest Mack said the polls will open at 7 a.m. today and close at 6 p.m.

Last night, the told OBSERVER media that 10 people were trained in recent days to execute the election.

“The training is complete, every worker has been sworn in. the candidates and their agents have also been sworn in. The stations are ready, the polling stations are already prepared and elections will start at 7 a.m. sharp,” she said.

Mack said the police were assigned to transport her to the polling station and to secure all the election materials to ensure there’s no tampering.

The Returning Officer added that a number of police officers traveled to Barbuda over the weekend to boost security that was already on the ground.

Mack also said many Barbudans traveled back from Antigua last week where they have been living since hurricane Irma hit the island last September.

They returned home to vote in the by-election and Mack said she would rather not predict what the voter turnout would be like.

“It all depends on who came over on the boat because there were not that many people living here yet so it all depends on who can come over, who already is over here. Quite a number of persons came over on the weekend so we just have to wait and see,” she said.

Over 1,200 people are registered to vote in Barbuda and three polling stations will be used to ensure the process runs quickly and smoothly.

The Barbuda Council consists of nine elected members plus a Senator chosen by the Barbuda Council and the parliamentary representative has an automatic seat.

Currently, the Barbuda People’s Movement has four elected council members since Walker had to step down following his success in becoming parliamentary representative on March 21.

The Antigua Barbuda Labour Party has four elected members as well. The bi-election today will determine which party will fill the ninth seat.

This time around, a third party is fielding a candidate.

So, the candidates are: Calsey Beazer from the Barbuda People’s Movement, Ricardo Nedd of the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party and Primrose Thomas of the Go Green for Life party.

The election, which is actually held every two years, is to be held at the Sir McChesney George Secondary School.

The person who is elected today, will serve for 11 months which was the time remaining before the next council election is constitutionally due.