ABEC ‘In Limbo’

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Antigua & Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) remains in limbo as it awaits the re-appointments of the former chairman Juno Samuel and others, according to commissioner Anthonyson King.

His remarks come after Attorney General Justin Simon said the recent re-appointments of Samuel and commissioners Glendina McKay and David Jack Kelsick were “pre-mature” and must be redone.

“I spoke to one of those three about an hour ago and I was told they have not received word about when they will be sworn in again, so as far as I am concerned the Electoral Commission is still in limbo,” King said.

He added that the existing commissioners could not do any work until the matters are fully resolved.

“We cannot have any meeting (because) there is no quorum and there is no chairman at this point,” King said.

“It means that nothing can continue, the process cannot start and no legitimate work of the commission can take place until all these matters can be clarified and rectified.”

Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack re-appointed the commissioners on July 26, but Simon said the re-appointments should have occurred after August 1, 2013, when Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer signed a new Order giving effect to the amendment to the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2011.

The new Order became necessary on May 20, when the Eastern Caribbean Appellate Court declared null and void the 2012 Order by the prime minister, which changed the composition of The Antigua & Barbuda Electoral Commission from December 22, 2011.

An Act to validate ABEC’s actions and decisions between December 22, 2011 and May 20, 2013 took effect July 31.

Meanwhile, King said he could not say definitively whether the state of limbo would affect attempts to re-register all voters before the next election, which is constitutionally due in early 2014.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)