Astaphan joins the call for ABEC to distance itself from voter padding comments by PM Browne; commissioners should resign if no action is taken, he advises

Another call is being made for the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) to distance itself from statements made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne of alleged voter padding.

This time the call has come from former St. Kitts and Nevis politician and attorney-at-law Dwyer Astaphan.

Astaphan’s position was expressed days after former ABEC chairman Bruce Goodwin made a similar call while also calling on the Commission to conduct an investigation into transfers leading up to the 2018 and 2023 General Elections.

All this comes after PM Browne on the weekend made statements apparently disclosing that voters were transferred out of his constituency (St. John’s City West) into other constituencies to give the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) candidates a better chance at winning their seat.

Astaphan, a social and political activist, says that the Commission should, at all times, project an image of independence and objectivity that would greatly enhance the electoral process and the perception of professionalism and transparency.

He says that ABEC is duty bound to look into the comment made by Prime Minister Browne or if they fail to address the situation the members should resign.

Astaphan says when abnormal behaviour goes unfixed it becomes the new norm and people begin to embrace it.

The attorney says that ABEC should have an interest in democracy and to ensure the integrity of the Office of Prime Minister.

ABEC is yet to speak publicly on the prime minister’s comment.