Despite PM Browne’s claim, ABEC says no budget provided yet to order ballot paper, but other election prep is underway

Although the Prime Minister claims he has already instructed the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) to order ballot paper for the upcoming elections, Elisa Graham, ABEC’s Public Relations Officer, says the Commission is yet to receive a budget to conduct the polls.

During a radio programme on Saturday, July 16, Prime Minister Gaston Browne confirmed that, by the end of the year, general elections would be called.

However, in spite of not having received the funds, Graham says the Commission is readying itself in other ways.

The PRO says that training has commenced on Barbuda and in Antigua for employees attached to ABEC. While training for Election Day workers is yet to commence, she reports that application forms are already in circulation and quite a few people have already applied.

Meanwhile, Graham says the Commission will ensure that things are in place to deal with COVID-19 – and with the monkeypox in the event it reaches our shores.

A template is already in place since the Barbuda Council biennial elections, she explains, and this will be built upon since the general elections are conducted on a much larger scale.

Therefore, mechanisms will have to be put in place to ensure that residents and voters are suitably protected while they exercise their franchise, she says, noting that the Commission does not want any elector to be left behind.