By Demion McTair. Updated 3:52 a.m., Thursday April 30, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – “As to when elections going to be held, your guess is as good as mine”, Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves told a Journalist at a press conference on Wednesday (April 29), who asked him a question related to the matter.
The next General Election in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is due to be held sometime this year, as the last one was held on Wednesday December 9, 2015.
But, the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has cast doubt on the poll.
There is, however, a constitutional allowance of 3-months, up to March 2021, for the Prime Minister to call the elections.
The Prime Minister said that electorally, the only matter he is addressing is that of the appointment of the Electoral Boundaries Commission.
“I haven’t given any real thought to the altered targets for elections” – Dr. Gonsalves said.
“The only matter on which I have had discussion and I’ve had it with the Honorable Leader of the Opposition and I had, in fact, drafted a letter and then Covid started: a letter to the Governor General regarding the appointment of the Election and Boundaries Commission” Dr. Gonsalves added.
Dr. Gonsalves said that “under the constitution, if there is a new census, we have to have the commission meet, or a determination of, or in the last revision, the last report from the boundaries commission, eight years, in excess of eight years”.
“As you know in 2010, we had passed the resolution in the Parliament to increase the seats from 15 to 17 and that exercise was stalled in the court, you may recall that. So, the 2015 election was concluded on the basis of the 15 seats, so that, I’ve been advised by the Office of the Attorney General that because of all those events which took place, the resolution in a sense what was passed in the Parliament, has been vacated essentially, because in constitutional terms, because you had a subsequent election under the old boundaries and that original matter has not been resolved, so you need to have a boundaries commission”.
Dr. Gonsalves said “I don’t believe that given the circumstances that any of the major political parties is interested in increasing the number of seats .. you know we have Covid, there has been a census which has been completed, remember the publication took place after the last election as I recall from trying to remember the dates. It was done in 2012, then they had the fire then we had to do over everything”.
He added that “the constitution says the governor general will name someone as chairperson in her own deliberate judgement and the leader of the opposition would advise her excellency on one member and as prime minister, I would advise her excellency on another member, so I want to get that show on the road”.
The Prime Minister continued:
“The point is this, in all of this matter with Covid, we have always to respect the constitution and do things, I know other people are not thinking about them, but I have to think about them because I am the captain in charge of the ship, metaphorically I have to address all of these things”.
The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a lot of things into uncertainty.