COVID patients not permitted to vote in Barbados general elections

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Bridgetown: Barbadians who have contracted the COVID19 virus will not be permitted to cast their vote this time. The general elections are going to take place on January 19, 2022. 

Speaking during the press conference on Saturday, Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman, made the announcement, noting, “it is a hard pill to swallow for anyone who desires to be a part of the electoral process but “we have to be our brother’s keeper”. 

He urged the COVID19 patients to remain in isolation, whether at their homes or in isolation facilities. 

“We understand that voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, but we are still in a pandemic, and those persons are highly infectious. We wouldn’t want those persons to go out to a polling station where we know we have all cadres of Barbadians there. So, we still want to be safe, and we are asking persons if they know they are feeling ill, please stay at home,” he added. 

Chapman highlighted that health authorities discovered Omicron in Barbados, which makes it more important to maintain balance and put stringent protocols to ensure the general public’s safety. 

Supervisor of Elections, Angela Taylor, asserted, “With the beginning of the COVID-19, I am certain there will be a time in the short future when we do sit down and discuss this matter of voting other than in-person voting and see where we can take that”. 

Meanwhile, the opposition party (DLP) leader, President Verla De Peiza, accused the leader of Barbados Labour Party, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, of not properly handling the COVID-19, citing the government as “uncaring“. 

She further asked the general public to be more careful and follow the guidelines as elections are arriving. 

“For a Party that claims to care, the events of the last few days are alarming to our democracy. How do you set an election date when you knew or ought to have known that COVID case numbers were on the rise, that Omicron likely was established in Barbados – and then mandate that persons with COVID will not be allowed to vote?” she noted while questioning the government to conduct snap elections.