Linton, Skerrit, at loggerheads over electoral reform

Linton, Skerrit, at loggerheads over electoral reform

Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit has responded to statements made by Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, during a Town Hall meeting on Thursday night, on the controversial matter of electoral reform.

Linton said the UWP needs to stand up before the next general election and determine if the election is going to be conducted in a free and fair manner.

He said that the party has expressed deep concerns over what it says are developments in recent months regarding two institutions (The Electoral Commission and The Integrity in Public Office Commission) which he says, have a mandate “to ensure and safeguard our democratic practices and integrity.”

The UWP leader said in a release from the party last week, that the responsibilities of the Electoral Commission and Integrity Commission “are being subjected to substantial legislative changes designed to make them weak and ineffective, if not dangerously unable to carry out their original mandate.”

But Prime Minister Skerrit told DBS news on Friday that Mr. Linton needs to submit to The Electoral Commission, whatever amendments he wishes to have made to the legislation.

“The government view is that if Mr. Linton and Mr. Johnson Boston, particularly Mr. Linton is serious about electoral reform then he must do his work,” he said. “Mr. Linton must sit down with his party as a leader and get his act together and submit his amendment to whatever legislation he wishes to have amended and allow the commission to review.”

Skerrit added that “Talking about electoral reform and acting on electoral reform are two separate matters.”

He stated further that the government has always agreed that there is need for some amendments to the legislation and changes to the election laws.

“What the government has done as a responsible government and as a responsible party in office, is that we have gone through the hard work of putting on paper the government and the party’s views in respect to what are the changes it would like to see,” Skerrit explained. “What we have done is that we have written to the electoral Commission to submit our position.”

The Prime Minister noted, “We have not imposed those amendments on the commission. We have not told the commission those amendments that you must consider and you must agree to, we have no such control over the commission.”

He said what his government has done, is to state to the commission in respect to Electoral Reform, “these are the recommendations of the government and the party in office.”

And according to him, it is now left to the commission to determine how it is going to treat with these recommendations from the government or the party in office.