Beautiful Virgin Islands

Elections Act needs comprehensive review — Elections Supervisor

Elections Act needs comprehensive review — Elections Supervisor

Supervisor of Elections Scherrie Griffin has called for a thorough assessment of the territory’s Elections Act in the wake of the just-concluded general elections.
“I think that the elections in itself need a comprehensive review. We need to move away from seemingly responding or making reforms to the legislation shortly before the next elections,” Griffin argued.

She explained that the territory is now four years out from the next constitutionally due general elections and should work towards implementing whatever reforms are necessary at the earliest possible opportunity.

Just recently, Third District Representative Julian Fraser said he did not support the government’s move to make last-minute changes to the territory’s Elections Act.

Changes were introduced in the Elections (Amendment) Act, 2023 that lawmakers debated in the House of Assembly (HOA) on March 10, mere weeks ahead of the just-concluded elections. That date also marked what should have been the absolute last day of regular House sittings before elections.

Fixed-date elections needed

Meanwhile, the Elections Supervisor has also argued that the BVI has come to a point where there is a need for a fixed date for elections and contended that the absence of this has undoubtedly put additional stress on her office to execute its mandate.

“We have grown away from not having a fixed date [for elections]. We need to move towards having a fixed date that would allow for better planning,” Griffin said following the closure of polls. “The short time frame does not allow for you to adequately or efficiently respond to any crises that may arise and it may then have a negative impact on the Office’s ability to function.”

Griffin pointed out that the tools that are currently available to her team to be used within tight deadlines do not allow for the office to manoeuvre sufficiently, particularly with new procurement processes that have recently been put in place.

She further commented that her experience in her first elections was both fulfilling and rewarding and expressed that although it proved to be challenging, she received overwhelming support from the public, close family members and friends as well as members of her office and the Deputy Governor‘s Office.

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