The Antigua and Barbuda Constituency Boundaries Commission is set to hold a consultation this evening, ahead of general elections that are constitutionally due in 2023.
Attorney-at-law Leon Chaku Symister, a member of the Commission, says the body has been tasked with several mandates; and in order to carry them out, the Commission must consult with the people.
This became very evident, he says, following the 2013 Boundaries Report, which was challenged by the Antigua Labour Party (ALP).
The Court, in that instance, was very clear that there had not been sufficient consultation to inform the process and allow the Commission to properly carry out its duties.
At present, Symister says, the body is seeking to bring equity to the constituencies, so that the number of voters in each is as “equal” as possible.
He says that, six months ago, the Commission sent out dozens of letters to organizations island-wide, inviting them to make a submission – either via a letter or a public forum – on the process.
However, only one entity showed up to the meeting that was held, Symister says.
The new Commission, headed by Hilroy Humphreys, was empaneled in June 2021. It was mandated to review the electoral boundaries and compile a report and make recommendations on whether there should be changes.
The body has also been charged with determining whether there should be an increase or a decrease in the number of constituencies, or whether the current demarcations should remain.
On completion, the report will be presented to the Speaker of the House, Sir Gerald Watt, QC.
The consultation will take place at the Multi-Purpose Cultural and Exhibition Centre at Perry Bay, commencing at 7 p.m. Symister is encouraging residents to attend in person, or via the ZOOM platform, and make an input, since it is an important exercise.