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‘Let Voters place own ballot paper in Ballot Box’- 2015 Election Observers

- International Election Observers called for media watchdog to ensure all political parties & candidates get fair coverage by the media
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Associate British Islands Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR) group has recommended that consideration be given for voters to place their own ballot paper in the ballot box. Photo: Internet Source
Voters at the Willard Wheatley Primary School (above) and Alexandrina Maduro Primary School (below), which were used as polling stations during the June 8, 2015 elections of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
Voters at the Willard Wheatley Primary School (above) and Alexandrina Maduro Primary School (below), which were used as polling stations during the June 8, 2015 elections of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
Voters at the Enid Scatliffe Primary School (above) and House of Assembly (below), which were used as polling stations during the June 8, 2015 elections of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
Voters at the Enid Scatliffe Primary School (above) and House of Assembly (below), which were used as polling stations during the June 8, 2015 elections of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- With the 2015 general elections of the Virgin Islands now in the history books, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR) group, which was invited to observe the elections in the tiny overseas territory of some 11, 000 plus voters, has made some serious recommendations.

Let voters do it themselves

In regards to when voters arrived at the voting stations or polls to vote, the CPA BIMR group in its recommendations laid on the table of the House of Assembly on April 18, 2016 as part of the General Elections Report, raised concerns about the ballot paper once persons have voted.

The Observer Mission stated that “consideration should be given for voters themselves to be able to place their own ballot paper in the ballot box and should not (unless support is required for incapacity reasons) be obliged to hand it to the Presiding Officer to do so on their behalf, which might compromise the secrecy of the ballot.”

The CPA BIMR 2015 Virgin Islands Election Observer Mission believes this would also save time in the voting process.

Media Watchdog

With the National Democratic Party (NDP) using its advantages of money and media access to dominate the airways, sometimes campaigning in a clever way through the Government Information Service (GIS), the Observer Mission also made some recommendation about media coverage.

It called for a media watchdog to be created “to establish and enforce regulations that evenly distribute air and television time, as well as space in print media to guarantee that all parties and candidates have equal access to and balanced coverage by the media and the public.”

Code of Conduct recommended

In addition, the Observer Mission also recommended a code of conduct during the elections. In its report, now a public document, it wrote “to reduce the level of negative campaigning comprising of personal attacks and accusations, candidates and parties should be required to sign a ‘Code of Conduct’ for the duration of an election campaign whereby they commit to a respectful and clean issues based campaign.”

The Observer Mission, which was invited to monitor the 2015 snap general elections with the approval of both the former Opposition Leader Hon Ralph T. O’Neal OBE and Governor John S. Duncan OBE, also believed that a code of conduct “would heighten the level of real discussion and debate during an election campaign and would encourage the electorate to have a higher regard for the candidates they are selecting to represent them in government.”

The NDP won the June 8, 2015 snap elections in a landslide, taking 11 out of 13 seats with the Opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP) securing the other 2.

9 Responses to “‘Let Voters place own ballot paper in Ballot Box’- 2015 Election Observers”

  • wize up (06/06/2016, 08:26) Like (3) Dislike (6) Reply
    when all the talking stops during any election campaign it's the people that ultimately cast their votes and in 2015 most voters thought that the NDP was the best hope for the territory: for a political party to be around for over 40 years then loose by such a margin something went wrong
  • Madge (06/06/2016, 08:48) Like (4) Dislike (9) Reply
    hope they did not thief the elections like how they did on the ports project
  • SMH (06/06/2016, 09:00) Like (9) Dislike (13) Reply
    it won't work the people have been bought out by the ndp
    • Wellsah (06/06/2016, 17:31) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      I voted on my own volition. No body bought me so don't count me in your tally. I have enough sense to make my free-will decision. Stop blogging piss.
  • .... (06/06/2016, 10:31) Like (0) Dislike (18) Reply
    God do not sleep
  • Sup (06/06/2016, 16:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    she will still open them in her office
  • John (06/06/2016, 20:14) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why no mension of campaign finance; is the ndp using taxpayers money or are they receiving private contributions? In either case the public should be informed of the sources of campaign finance. If it is a government source, then all parties should have equal access. If it is a private contribution, then that source and the amount should be available.
  • Political Observer (07/06/2016, 00:16) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Though the process may not have been the cause of VIP slaughter at polls, the suggested changes by CPA BIMR should be adopted an implemented: 1) letting voters placed ballots in ballot box, 2)creating a media watchdog group and 3)candidates signing a code of conduct. In addition, like the UK, the VI should have a date certain for its general election and bye elections, electronic voting, unnumbered ballots........etc. The VIP's demise was due to its unpreparedness, weak slate of candidates, lack of concrete plans of action, lack of confidence in leadership.......etc. The NDP won not because it was so much better but because it was better than the VIP and it exploited well the advantage of incumbency.

    9 elected district members to represent approx 40,000 people is far too many( 1:4444) and 4 at large members for 40000(1:10000). How about a constitutional change to decrease the number of elected members. There is often a call for Jost Van Dyke and Anegada to each have their own dedicated elected member. What they need is more effective representation, not more representation.


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