Calls are being echoed for the British Virgin Islands to consider changing the laws to reflect a fixed term for elections.
This latest call comes through recommendations by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region Election Observation Mission.
In their recent final report on the February 2019 General Election, the mission said they want the Fahie-led administration to consider the legislation that would see elections done every four or five years.
“This would ensure that election officials have sufficient time to adequately prepare. More importantly, this would give election administrators adequate time to inform and educate the electorate on possible changes to voting procedures”, the report explained.
Former Attorney General and independent candidate in the recently held election, Dancia Penn had planned to champion constitutional reform to have a fixed date for all general election if she was successful at the polls.
Currently, the Premier is the one who decides when Election Day will be.
“No premier, whoever he or she may be, should be able to carry around in his or her back pocket the election date and have the country guessing. I really think that is one of the areas that cry out for serious reform,” Penn said at the time.
At the same time, the mission believes there should be a review and update of the Virgin Islands Elections Act.
In the meantime, Head of Mission Palmavon Webster said the election was a competitive one.
“The Virgin Islands 2019 election was vibrant and competitive, and the results reflected the will of the voters. The Election Observation Mission commends the Virgin Islands for taking positive steps to improve voting processes and to encourage a more positive campaign environment.”
Special commendation should go to the election officials who, in a short period of time, administered the election effectively,” she said.
Distrust in the election system
However, Webster said there is distrust in the electoral system, and the mission continues to express concern that the regulatory framework, particularly about campaign financing and lack of transparency undermines the equality and openness of the election process.
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