Barbados: APP Leader says no law prevents COVID patients from voting in elections

The Alliance Party for Progress representative, Lynette Eastmond, spoke against the Head of the Covid-19 Units' decision not to allow COVID patients to vote.

Alliance Party for Progress representative Lynette Eastmond.

Bridgetown, Barbados: The Alliance Party for Progress representative, Lynette Eastmond, spoke against the Head of the Covid-19 Units’ decision not to allow COVID patients to vote. She noted that no law prevents individuals from voting in the general elections because they tested positive for COVID. 

“It is disturbing the haste and callousness with which we seek to eliminate the voting rights of Barbadians. Our own vigilance must always celebrate the work of those who fought for Universal Adult Suffrage in our own time, even in the face of efforts to silence those who speak,” she added. 

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She further highlighted research shows that several countries found norms to hold free and fair elections in the middle of a pandemic, even where people are isolated or quarantined.

As per the – Representation of the People Act, “a person is permitted to vote as an elector at an election in a particular constituency if on the polling day he is qualified to be an elector for that specific constituency & is on that day registered in the register of electors to be utilized at that election in that constituency,” she further underscored. 

Following are the disqualifications in Act 1, which Eastmond outlined while opposing the decision: 

An individual is not permitted to vote if – 

  1. If the person is of unsound mind; 
  2.  Is undergoing a sentence of imprisonment; 
  3.  Is under sentence of death;
  4. And then disqualification under any law.

Following the statement, Eastmond cited, “Under the Emergency Management Act – when a proclamation of a public health emergency is in force, the Cabinet can call any Orders which have been commonly call Directives. However, the COVID-19 Directives issued by the Cabinet of Barbados do not disenfranchise voters. And even less so one would imagine can the statement of an individual heading the COVID-19 Unit”. 

She noted that Chief Medical Officer is responsible for the  Emergency Management Act. According to Eastmond, not permitting the COVID19 patients to vote violates their fundamental rights and freedom. 

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