Residents urged to register ahead of planned referendum

Nationals who are yet registered to vote will have to do so by the end of August in order to be eligible to participate in the November 6 referendum to determine whether the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will be the nation’s final court of appeal.

Attorney General (AG) Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin issued the reminder on Monday following a meeting with a core group that will be leading the public education campaign ahead of the referendum.

“The cut-off point is August 31 so that there could be claims and objections and other matters. The final list will be published in October, and to get on it, people would have to register before the end of August,” Benjamin said.

The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) will also be launching an intense public awareness drive to educate nationals about the importance of being registered.

Meanwhile, the new education campaign group, consisting of a wide range of stakeholders, who will lead the CCJ education campaign, held its first meeting on Sunday.

The group will be conducting a series of activities to enlighten the public about the importance of the regional court.

Minister Benjamin said that the government will also be partnering with key officials from Grenada – the Spice Island,  which will also hold a second referendum on the same day as Antigua and Barbuda.

“We are collaborating our efforts, they will come together and help the campaign, and we will go to Grenada and help with their campaign. It is essential for all the English-speaking countries to have their own court of appeal,” Benjamin said.

During the meeting on Monday, the AG laid out the framework for moving the process ahead, stressing that it will remain apolitical as it is important that Antiguans and Barbudans are not swayed by their political preference in voting for a constitutional change that he considers is best for the country.

Two years ago the government commenced an education campaign for the referendum but then abandoned it, blaming the opposition United Progressive Party for the decision after accusing it of not supporting the initiative.

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