The Central Executive Committee of the People’s National Congress has agreed to delay the congress and elections by one week following the recommendation of the Chief Election Officer for the Congress Vincent Alexander.
The CEC met today and received and accepted Mr. Alexander’s recommendation for the one-week postponement to ensure all systems are in place for a free, fair, and transparent congress and elections.
Late last week, Alexander was tasked with assessing the party’s preparedness to host its elections.
In his assessment, Mr. Alexander said there was a need for some adequate systems to be put in place to ensure a smooth electoral process.
Alexander also pointed out that based on what he saw over the past few days, the voters` lists and ballot papers were still being prepared, and while there was a promise that they would have been completed on time, he said in his opinion, he did not believe there was sufficient time to guarantee the delivery to the places of poll in time for this Saturday.
He pointed out to the CEC that while there are some administrative challenges that could easily be addressed in the short term, there are also challenges of officials who are yet to be briefed and candidates who are yet to be consulted on procedural matters that require their approval, among other outstanding matters.
The Chief Election Officer for the PNC Elections in his document said those were some of the reasons for his recommendation.
His report stated that with a December 18 election date, candidates must be consulted no later than this Sunday, and officials be briefed by Monday.
Once those briefings take place, he has proposed that all other systems be in place by next Wednesday for the elections next Saturday.
The Central Executive Committee accepted the recommendations and settled for the elections taking place on the 18th of December.
In a statement this afternoon, the Executive Committee said its decision was made in the interest of ensuring transparency, democracy, and fairness to all its members, delegates, and officials for the upcoming congress.
The candidates for the various positions in the party including the top positions of Party Leader and Chairman, have been busy in the past two weeks on the campaign trail, trying to convince the delegates to support their campaign.
Those vying for party leader include former General Secretary Aubrey Norton, Opposition Leader Joe Harmon, executive member Dr. Richard Van West Charles and longtime party executive Basil Williams.
While some of the top candidates have been quietly campaigning, others have been hitting the airwaves with commercials and interviews targeting the party’s membership and delegates.
The Congress appears set to be one of the most competitive in recent years. There are sixteen candidates who have been nominated for the Chairman’s position and thirty have been nominated for the position of Vice-Chairman.
Additionally, eighteen persons have been nominated for Vice Chairman and several others for one of the spots on the Central Executive Committee.
The PNC explained that since several persons have been nominated to contest for more than one position, the elections will be conducted in two stages with the result for each stage being declared, before moving to the next stage.
The first stage includes the election of the Leader, the Chairman, two Vice-Chairpersons, and Treasurer, while the second stage entails the election of the members to the Central Executive Committee.