Member of Parliament for Fort Charlotte, Hon. Andre Rollins, during a brief sitting of the House of Assembly on Wednesday morning, brought up an apparent robbery that allegedly took place at a St. Barnabas constituency Parliamentary Registration distribution center on Tuesday evening.
Dr. Rollins questioned the Minister of National Security and MP for Bain and Grant’s Town, Hon. Dr. Bernard Nottage on the matter. The minister replied in the negative.
“I wish to make a request of the Minister responsible for National Security and Elections (Nottage), to please brief this Honorable House as to the veracity of the reports indicating that parliamentary registration department officials were robbed at gunpoint last evening, in the new constituency of St. Barnabas. Obviously it is a very serious matter, if in fact it is true. There are concerns that it would affect the integrity of the electoral process with respect to that constituency. I would like for the minster to please clarify what indeed did happen, or insofar or inasmuch as he is able to say and to relay any concerns related thereto,” said Dr. Rollins.
In response, Nottage acknowledged that a robbery did in fact take place, however, none of the voters cards or any parliamentary registration material were compromised.
“It is a case that there was an incident in the St. Barnabas constituency with respect to criminals who entered the property and sought to rob the persons that were there, of some of their personal belongings.
“From the time that we started registering and distributing voters cards, we have had police officers manning these facilities, to ensure the safety and security of the general public and of the employees of the centers. Last evening the officer who was supposed to be at the center, to provide the safety and security, was not there at the time of this incident. It is the case that felons did go in and carry out a robbery, which had a concerning affect on members of staff. We have had discussions with the police force and I have been given the assurance that this matter, on the absence of an officer, will not be repeated for this location.
“With respect to the voting process, at the time of the robbery, it was at the end of session and the voters cards and registration paraphernalia, were not at the location, but on the way to the Parliamentary Registration Department. There was no loss of voters’ cards or anything of that concern; no paraphernalia, none of the equipment, which are used in the distribution of cards were lost,” said Nottage.
He also informed the public that the Parliamentary Registration Department will not occupy the facility in which the robbery occurred on Wednesday, but would instead utilize the Thomas Robinson Sports Center, for the distribution of voters cards, until further notice.
In response, Rollins stated: “I am happy that you have confirmed that no cards were stolen and no materials used in the production of those cards either.”
Published Thursday, March 23, 2017