PLP concerned over Election writ delay

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plp_9024PRESS RELEASE: The PLP notes that Malcolm Adderley resigned as the Member of Parliament for the Elizabeth Constituency on Wednesday, the 6th of January 2010, yet some eight days later the writ for the Bye Election has not yet been issued.

We refer to the sections 33(1) and 33(3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act.

33. (1) Upon the occurrence of a vacancy in the House of Assembly whilst in session, the Speaker shall send a message to the Governor-General requesting the issue of a writ of election.

(3) Upon receipt of the Speaker’s message the Governor-General shall as soon as practicable issue a writ of election for the election of a member for the constituency for which the vacancy has occurred, and there shall be not less than twenty-one nor more than thirty days between the issue of the writ of election and the return of that writ.

Many concerned Bahamians are asking why the issuance of the writ of election is being delayed. We in the Progressive Liberal Party call on the government to clarify to the Bahamian people the legitimate reasons for the delay. We remain on guard and trust that no skullduggery or sinister plot is going on and may be the reason for the delay.

We remind the government that democracy must not only be free and fair, but must appear to be free and fair. The PLP fears that the delay tactics of the government could cast doubt on the fairness and integrity of the electoral process. This doubt can only deepen cynicism toward our democratic institutions and in particular our electoral process, substantially weakening our democracy.

We urge the Government not to further delay the process and to ensure that the Speaker informs the Governor General without further delay so that the voters of Elizabeth may exercise their constitutional right to elect a new Member of Parliament, consistent with the constitution.