Press conference by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission – January 1, 2022. (PMO)

Supervisor of Elections, Angela Taylor, is assuring the public that preparations for the January 19th General Elections are “on point”.

She stated this during a press conference this morning, noting that the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) had started making itself ready two and a half years after the last poll.

Mrs. Taylor stated: “So, we had already started our preparations and we have just accelerated. I can assure you that our team of election workers are in place; the list of returning officers and election clerks would have been published yesterday (Friday), so that is available for all to see.”

She continued: “We are … doing the training of that cadre – the returning officers and election clerks today – and we are ready for Nomination Day. We have a team of persons working this weekend and we will have all the bags packed with all the supplies needed for the candidates to be nominated at the centres. The list of Nomination Centres has also been published.”

The Chief Electoral Officer pointed out that the difference between preparations for this year’s elections and the others was the COVID-19 situation and the measures taken by the EBC to ensure compliance with the protocols.

Mrs. Taylor disclosed that the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit had developed a document of the protocols to be followed by officials for every election activity, as it related to EBC meetings with political parties, the media, nomination day activities “on special polling day, on general polling day, the night of the count, and it even includes information for the conduct of political meetings and other political activities”.

The Supervisor of Elections added: “So, we do have the protocols before us and we will be training our staff to be familiar with everything that they have to put in place. We also have on this occasion, a separate team for COVID-19 matters, so that we have enough persons at polling stations to take the temperatures, to sanitise the hands of voters, to ensure that voters are social distancing, to sanitise the polling booth after persons have voted; we will be training that staff as well. But we do wish to assure the public that we have made every provision for ensuring that the COVID-19 protocols are complied with.”

Mrs. Taylor gave the assurance that the EBC would examine ways to reduce the number of electors at each polling station and suggested that eligible voters cast their votes where possible, during their lunch hour, to avoid crowding in the morning and the evening.

She also urged persons who are not working on that day to cast their votes during the day, and to leave the morning and evening periods for workers unable to visit the polling stations during their lunch time, adding “we would appreciate it very much”.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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