Senator Franklyn spells out grounds for objection to election of president
Senator Caswell Franklyn said he objected to the election of Governor General Dame Sandra Mason as the first president of Barbados on procedural grounds.
Franklyn was the lone dissenting voice when the question about Dame Sandra’s election was put to a historic joint sitting of the House of Assembly and the Senate on Wednesday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
His objection prompted the two houses into a separate secret ballot, where members of the House voted 27-0 and the Senate 18-0 to make Dame Sandra the first president of the new republic of Barbados on November 30, traditionally Independence Day.
“I have a lot to say,” Senator Franklyn told the Daily Nation. “They tried to shut me up. We have no rules in this place. They made up the rules last night after I made it known that I would object, so they rushed and put this thing in place.
“The ballot paper came from nowhere. There is no statute that guides this process. There are no rules. There is nothing.”
Franklyn drew reference to neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago, where a president is also elected under a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and Senate, and there are clear rules on how the election proceeds.
“If you look at the Constitution of Trinidad & Tobago, there are rules of procedure for the Electoral College,” he said.
“We don’t have any rules in Barbados. We are playing it by ear. We are making it up as we go along. I cannot be part of anything like that. This has nothing to do with who will be the president.”
He added: “I would do this if it was my mother nominated. It is wrong and somebody in Barbados has to stand up for what is right and decent. This mad rush, this haste, it is out of order.
“You witness a process where they are making up rules while we are sitting down. The ballot paper has no space to say that you object. There is only a space to vote ‘yes’. There is no space to vote ‘no’. I don’t know why people who have been through elections don’t know how to conduct one.”
The election of Dame Sandra will officially end the tenure of Queen Elizabeth II as head of state of Barbados. (AR)