The right to vote

Dr. Jerome Walcott
Dr. Jerome Walcott

A Prime Minister should not only look at the constitutionality of his action, but also the morality of it.

Former parliamentary representative for St. Michael West, Reverend Joseph Atherley, expressed this view while addressing the Barbados Labour Party’s mass meeting in Heroes’ Square, the City.

Atherley argued that even though the constitution states that a parliamentary term expires on the anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament, it has been the practice of other leaders to call elections on or before the anniversary of the election date. The former MP said that in addition to Prime Ministerial discretion, voter expectations should be acknowledged.

Atherley argued that the BLP should be in the vanguard of the current dispute because it had championed the cause of democracy under Sir Grantley Adams’ leadership.

He said: “We in the BLP demand elections immediately. The right to vote cannot be trifled with. It is a threat to democracy. The BLP has a responsibility to call for elections. Democracy is our way of life. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Atherley added that when the people of Barbados voted in 2008, they anticipated that the late David Thompson could be the next Prime Minister, then noted: “Since Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was not anticipated to be the leader he should seek approval from the people. He should have come to the people on the anniversary date of the last general election.”

The religious minister recalled that a recent poll had shown that 60 per cent of the respondents had called for a general elections. (NC)

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