Symister says names of persons under consideration for Supervisor of Elections position should have been made public

The Lower House of Parliament is now set to convene on
Thursday, July 27 – and not on Tuesday, as first announced – and a
resolution to appoint a new supervisor of elections is expected to be

Ian Hughes, the human resource and training officer at the Antigua
and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC), was recommended for
the position by Dame Lorna Simon before she retired from the post
she held for over three decades. It is widely believed that the
Browne Administration will give him the nod.

In the meantime, Leon Chaku Symister, the United Progressive Party
(UPP) spokesperson on legal matters, says he is concerned about the
secrecy surrounding the selection.

He believes that, prior to taking a Resolution to the House, the
names of those under consideration for the post should have been
circulated to the public.

Since a by-election is pending in St. Mary’s South, a supervisor of
elections – who is vested with the authority to oversee all elections –
must be in place.

To fill the vacancy, a Resolution must be taken in Parliament, with a
Member proposing the nominee, who must be seconded before the
debate gets underway and the vote is taken.

However, Symister says he has not heard the names of any other
nominees for the post being circulated.

Accordingly, the UPP spokesperson is curious to find out whether
the appointment will be a temporary one or permanent. In his view,
it is important that the appointment be permanent in the interest of
security of tenure. 

Therefore, he says that Thursday’s appointment of a new supervisor
of elections should be permanent – unless a search is going to be
conducted for someone else to fill the post.

Meanwhile, there are allegations that Dame Lorna will be brought
back to preside over the by-election, since she has not reached the
official retirement age of 75 years. Reportedly, she left the post
early in order to enjoy her retirement in good health.

Symister says he has not heard this rumour; but if Simon had
reached retirement age it would take an act of Parliament to bring
her back. 

Dame Lorna proceeded on retirement in May this year.