Grenadians to head to the poll this July


ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (eTN) – Two political parties are expected to be contesting the July 8, 2008 general election following Prime Minister Keith Mitchell’s announcement on Sunday that he will ask Head of State Governor General Sir Daniel Williams to dissolve the current parliament on Tuesday, July 3.

Dr. Mitchell, who is a political leader of the New National Party (NNP), told thousands of supporters that nomination day for candidates contesting the election will be June 18, 2008, and Election Day will be on July 8.

In keeping with provisions of a recent amendment to the election law, which requires Police officers to vote no more three or two days before an election date, they will be voting on July 4. This is the first time that police officers are voting before the election date.

In making the announcement, Prime Minister Mitchell said that the 2008 general elections is not just about the NNP seeking a fourth term in office but is about the securing the security, peace and good order of Grenada. Pleading for a fourth term he said, “We have had a lot of work done; we have a lot more to d;, we cannot rest; we cannot change now; we haven’t reached where the NNP wants to go.”

The main opposition, National Democratic Congress (NDC), said that the party is not surprised with the disclosure. Opposition leader Tillman Thomas said that the party is ready and is in full gear to lead the party onto victory.

“All systems are in place to ensure that the party succeeds at the polls, and over the next few weeks the party will be intensifying its campaign in order to secure a convincing victory on Election Day,” he said.

The party, however, expressed its concerned about the security of ballot boxes to be used when police officers cast their votes on July 4. NDC said it also wants the electoral official to ensure that all keys to the ballot boxes are held by a High Court judge. “What we see is a calculated attempt to ensure that the polling boxes remain in the custody of the supervisor of elections over the weekend,” said Nazim Burke, the NDC public relations officer.

Burke added, “This is something that we consider sinister, not because we have concerns about the integrity of the supervisor of elections. Wherever you have a situation where boxes with uncounted ballots are going to sit in any particular location for four calendar days, it raises the spectre that someone can interfere.”

Elections supervisor Nordica McIntyre said that the ballots boxes would be held in a safe place under her care. “I know there are concerns, but we have a particular vaulted area and that will be secured under armed security. I will not tell you where I am going to secure it for security reasons but it will be secured.”

The Organization of American States (OAS) is assisting the Elections Office in its preparation for the polls following a crash of its computers last year and on Monday. The OAS director in Grenada Francis MacBarnette said a technical team is expected there next week to continue its work at the elections office, ahead of the observer mission.