The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) is denying claims that the Registration Unit in the St. George constituency was closed on Monday, February 21.
Yesterday, REAL News received reports that a number of people had turned up to be registered or transferred, but left the Unit after they found it closed, with no one responding to their calls.
However, Ian Hughes, the Acting Supervisor of Elections, says that some people are seeking to create mischief and putting out reckless information, since all registration centres are open on a daily basis.
Hughes says he is not sure of the public’s definition of “closed,” because the Units are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with lunch breaks.
Most of the Units are air conditioned and, therefore, the doors will be closed, he says. What he understands is that persons will drive by and, once they see the doors closed, will fail to approach the centres to make sure that business is taking place.
Hughes says the commonsense thing to do is to go up and make actual checks at the door.
The Units are staffed with at least four persons: a registration officer (who is responsible for operations), a registration clerk, and scrutineers from both major political parties.
Based on his investigations, Hughes says, staff were, in fact, at the Unit on Monday.
The Acting Supervisor says that ABEC and its workers are not there to frustrate anyone. In fact, the staff will bend over backwards to assist the public, including coming off their lunch breaks, to ensure that residents are registered or transferred, Hughes says.