The X factor
Vote buyers and vote sellers beware – the police are on the lookout to catch you. And if they do, you can expect to face the full extent of the law.
Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith said Monday officers had undergone training specific to the upcoming May 24 general elections, and combatting vote buying and selling was part of that exercise.
That training updated officers on the Public Order Act and other relevant laws relating to general elections, including the Elections And Controversies Act which, among other things, outlined the law and penalties of buying and selling of votes.
The training also sought to reinforce the apolitical approach and professionalism that officers should practise and exhibit at all times, but particularly in a charged partisan political environment.
Griffith declined to divulge any details on how officers would go about gathering information on vote buyers and sellers, but gave the assurance the force had examined a number of strategies to use.
Apart from this initiative, Griffith said he would be seeking to set the tone for the elections by meeting representatives of the political parties to impress on them the force’s role and what was allowed under the law.
The commissioner’s comments come in the wake of growing concerns about vote buying and selling, and their influence on the results of the last general election in particular.
It came too after Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and later Barbados Labour Party St Michael Central candidate Arthur Holder, separately advised their supporters to accept any money offered during the upcoming poll, and then vote against those who would seek to disrespect them in that way.
Attorney David Comissiong, who has been waging a one-man battle in the media against vote buying and selling, said on Sunday that over the years, the phenomenon had worsened. (SP)