Categorized | National News

FNM Raises Bye-Election Concerns

Next week’s bye-election in North Abaco may be compromised as several presiding officers have been replaced at the last minute, according to the Free National Movement (FNM)

The FNM yesterday said it is surprised that Parliamentary Commissioner Errol Bethel, “presumably after instructions,” has named eight new presiding officers to man eight of the 12 polling stations during next Monday’s election.

The Opposition, in a statement to the media Monday, said new presiding officers have been appointed in Grand Cay, Cedar Harbour and Wood Cay, Treasure Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Murphy Town and Central Pines.

“Virtually all individuals who manned polling stations as presiding officers for the May 7 General Election were civil servants. Only four of these have been retained for the bye-election,”
 the party said.

“The FNM is not aware of any complaints made against any of the presiding officers being replaced. One is a principal of a primary school, at least two others are former principals currently engaged in administration, one of whom has been a presiding officer in every general election since 1982, and another officer being replaced is the head of the Social Services Department in Abaco. And so, we are compelled to ask, why are they being changed?”

The FNM expressed deep concerns about the potential for serious irregularities and mischief that the last minute appointments may give rise to during the October 15 election.

“This includes individuals seeking to illegally influence the outcome of the bye-election by running chain ballots. The FNM believes that it is essential that integrity of the voting process is protected and that it is seen to be fair,” the party said.

“The FNM holds grave concerns with these late appointments and calls on all to be vigilant to protect against any tampering with the voting process or any compromise of the integrity of next week’s poll.”

Just over 4,000 are registered to vote in next week’s election according to Mr. Bethel.

Nearly 100 residents applied to vote in the advance poll, which was held yesterday.

Three candidates are vying in next week’s election – Renardo Curry of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), Greg Gomez of the FNM and Ali McIntosh of the Bahamas Constitution Party (BCP).

Written by Jones Bahamas

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