PM hints at disciplinary action over advance poll

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May 04, 2017

A full reporting on yesterday's challenge-ridden advance poll was expected to be delivered to Prime Minister Perry Christie last night, a report that the prime minister said will guide him in determining whether Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall oversees the May 10 election.
Two winding lines of voters, many of whom endured a five-hour wait in sweltering conditions, led into the Kendal G. L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
The gym was the only voting station on New Providence for yesterday's advance poll, despite the Parliamentary Registration Department advertising last month the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium as a second voting station.
Christie, who showed up to vote just before 7 p.m., when the scenes from that morning had long dissipated, was prompted on whether he retains confidence in Hall's ability.
"It is a matter that is under complete review," Christie told reporters after casting his ballot.
"I actually had people down there with Mr. Hall, who have had the experience of elections before, by name, senior officials, with a view to assisting as best they could.
"Whatever is in fact the position as a result of the reports that I will receive during the course of this evening, if we have to act upon them, we will act upon them."
Pressed on whether it is plausible for Hall to no longer be parliamentary commissioner before the election, the prime minister said, "We are going to make the right decision for the country and it is an important process.
"It would be totally inappropriate for me to draw conclusions before I have a full report on what took place here today."
Christie said he was surprised by the decision to open polls at the gym only.
"I am told someone senior made a decision that this could be accommodated in this place by itself, and surprisingly to me -- I mean I am surprised -- but I have to wait to find out if in fact that is true, and that involves more than Mr. Hall," Christie said.
The prime minister expressed disappointment that things did not go as smoothly as they ought to "when every effort was made to prepare, to anticipate, and to be able to deal with issues of this kind".
He said notwithstanding the challenges, no one should question the authenticity or integrity of the election or the process.
"There has to be obviously explanations as to what took place," Christie said.
"At a very early stage this morning, I got involved in the process, trying to ensure that we have some kind of order to the process, and to add personnel in fact right here, to ensure that people of experience were sent in to see if they could assist.
"A great difficulty with this place is I am told there were two lines and that when you got in here there was another challenge.
"And so...when they examined it, there was very little they could do about it.
"They thought they could not establish another venue, however close it might have been, because it might have had implications in moving the ballot boxes."
He indicated that the government waited for the voter register to reach a certain number before calling the election, and it was anticipated that "something of that nature, of the nature what took place, could have happened, but, I wait to be informed of the report".
He added, "There are some other issues that have arisen that are being dealt with now that have to do with people's right to vote, and so we are dealing with it, with a view to ensuring that we are able to protect people's right to vote."

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News date : 05/04/2017    Category : Nassau Guardian Stories

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