Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2013 Contents A30
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 28, 2013
Admission to Polling Stations on Polling Day
In the Chaguanas West Bye- Election, 2013
Persons wishing to gain entrance to polling stations on Polling Day for the Chaguanas West
Bye-Election on Monday 29th July 2013 are hereby requested to note that a Presiding O cer is
required by law, as set out in Election Rule 32 of the Representation of the People Act, Chap. 2:01 to:
(a) the candidates and their Election Agents;
(b) the Polling Agents appointed to attend at the polling station;
(c) the Police O cers on duty;
(d) the companions of physically incapacitated electors;
(e) the Chief Election O cer, the Deputy Chief Election O cer, an Assistant
Chief Election O cer, a Registration Supervisor, the Returning O cer, the
Election Clerk, the Deputy Presiding O cer and the Poll Clerks.
Contrary to what is mistakenly claimed in some quarters as an unrestricted right to enter
Polling Stations on Polling Day, the legal position is that members of the media do not have
such a right nor does any person who is outside the EXCEPTIONS speci ed above.
The clear object of the Rule is to ensure free, fair and orderly elections. In the
circumstances, the Commission appeals to all concerned, to co-operate and assist with the
e orts of the Presiding O cer to ensure that the law is duly observed.
CHIEF ELECTION OFFICER (Ag.)
ELECTIONS AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION
(1) regulate the number of electors to be admitted to the Polling Station at the same time; and
(2) EXCLUDE ALL OTHER PERSONS FROM ADMISSION EXCEPT the following persons who have duly
made the required Declaration of Secrecy;
Partners in Democracy
His home in flames last Monday
night, top priority for 74-year-
old Lucien Janise was to snatch up
his passport. "Everything burn,
everything gone... The only thing I
could save was my documents,
that s it. No clothes, no nothing."
Perhaps 50 mainly wooden houses
burnt down on one night in a Hait-
ian shanty town in the Bahamian
capital, Nassau. At least 121 people
from the 400-strong ghetto com-
munity on Joe Farrington Road were
left homeless, maybe more.
Some residents suspect an arson
attack, aimed at clearing the prop-
erty. A pastor, Celiner St Louis, says
men were seen jumping over a
nearby wall to set a house on fire.
Flames moved fast from one small
house to the next; but in a jumble
of close-packed wooden structures,
there are many other ways a fire
could start and spread.
Nobody died, but life is hard for
the survivors. "I don t have nothing
to eat," Lucien Janise told the Nas-
sau Tribune. "I sleep in somebody
house on the ground last night. I
retired, I do not work. I just get
residence and I only saved my pass-
port." Says St Louis: "People lost
their clothes, passports, work per-
mits and birth certificates."
The prosperous Bahamas are a
few days by overcrowded boat from
impoverished Haiti. Controls on
migration are tight, but there has
for decades been a steady stream of
Many are intercepted by the coast
guard, detained and sent home;
3,318 were deported from The
Bahamas last year, more than three-
quarters of them Haitian.
A detention centre in a converted
school in Nassau s Carmichael Road
holds up to 375. Two of its four
dormitories were burnt down by
inmates in a 2004 protest, leaving
only two, each with living space for
100. At peak capacity, some
detainees sleep in the open.
The US State Department s
Human Rights Report notes that
"Royal Bahamas Defense Force offi-
cers regularly beat detainees while
prison officers watched."
Haitians are not the only ones
held. The State Department reports
that on December 5 last year, a
Trinidadian man died in Carmichael
Road: "The cause of death was list-
ed as respiratory failure, although
the family claimed that the individ-
ual had no history of health-related
problems. Authorities reportedly
removed the centre s director fol-
lowing this death."
Nobody knows how many Haitian
migrants there are. The State
Department guesstimates 30,000 to
60,000---ten-20 per cent of the
Bahamian population. That total
would include Bahamas-born chil-
dren of Haitian parents.
Most are in low-paid casual work.
For a comfortably placed Bahamian,
"my Haitian" can be a synonym for
the gardener or groundsman. In
2012, 4,141 work permits were
granted for maids, gardeners and
similar jobs, mostly to Haitians or
Filipinos. But in March this year,
the Bahamian immigration minister
Fred Mitchell said that he plans a
complete cut-off from 2014.
The State Department reports
complaints of workplace discrimina-
tion: "identity and work-permit
documents were controlled by
employers seeking leverage by threat
Some Bahamians view Haitian
shanty towns as a health risk. A
research team from the environ-
mental health department reported
this month that there are at least 15
in Nassau, and more on other
A glance at Google maps shows
clusters of close-packed huts and
maze-like alleyways, sections of
Port-au-Prince dropped into well-
ordered Bahamian suburbs. The
State Department reports "limited
sewage and garbage services,
law enforcement, or other
infrastructure." Some ghettoes
"consisted of houses built from
trash and leftover building
materials," with "high poverty,
high unemployment, and poor
There were shanty town fires
last year; one burnt down nine
homes, another burnt six. The
cause? "Police investigations
continued at year s end."
Environment and housing
minister Kendred Dorsett this
month threatened to prosecute
shanty town landowners, hold-
ing them responsible for
unsanitary conditions and
An attorney, John Bostwick,
says he has unnamed clients
who own 2.5 acres at Joe Far-
ringdon Road. They had until
recently been collecting rent
from the occupants---and
enforcement notices from the
environmental health depart-
ment. They say they are dis-
tressed by the disaster, but do
not want the shanty town
Children born in the Bahamas
to Haitian parents have no
automatic right to citizenship,
though they are allowed to
work, attend government
schools or access healthcare.
They can apply for a Bahamian
passport---but only during the
12 months immediately follow-
ing their 18th birthday, and
with a long wait for an uncer-
tain administrative ruling.
A constitutional commission
commented this month on this
"perceived" unfairness. But it
argued against automatic citi-
zenship for the Bahamian born,
suggesting only a "task force"
on the issue.
The US is not universally known
for welcoming undocumented
migrants. It is ironic that a US gov-
ernment source should be docu-
menting the problems of migrants
from one Caricom country, Haiti,
inside another, the Bahamas.
Tropical storm Dorian was
bearing down in the Bahamas
late last week. If it hits, plenty
of prosperous Nassau residents
will need "their Haitians" to
clear up the mess.
BETTER IN THE BAHAMAS?
NOT IF YOU'RE HAITIAN
Hundreds of Haitians remain homeless after a raging fire destroyed more than 50
homes in Nassau last Monday.
Links Archive July 27th 2013 July 29th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page