By Youri Kemp
Caribbean News Now associate editor
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The Barbados parliament automatically dissolved pursuant to the constitution on Monday without Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announcing a date for general elections, which are due by June. The lack of a firm election date has created a stir and some are calling it folly, while others say it hinders investment opportunities.
Speaking in Barbados Today, director at Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), Peter Wickham, called the move “folly” and a gross error in judgement on the part of the Stuart administration, because not only does it create confusion, but also paints Stuart’s party, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in a very precarious position when campaigning and speaking with prospective voters.
Managing director and chief executive officer of Republic Bank (Barbados) Ltd, Anthony Clerk, said potential investors had pulled back and were in a “wait-and-see” state as they await the call for a specific date for the upcoming general elections.
With the House being dissolved, Barbadians are not necessarily in limbo in lieu of an election date. Barring unforeseen circumstances, in this case Article 61 (5) of the Barbadian Constitution applies, which states: “If, between a dissolution of Parliament and the next ensuing general election of members to the House of Assembly, an emergency arises of such a nature that, in the opinion of the Prime Minister, it is necessary for the two Houses or either of them to be summoned before that general election can be held, the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may summon the two Houses of the preceding Parliament, and that Parliament shall thereupon be deemed (except for the purposes of section 62) not to have been dissolved but shall be deemed (except as aforesaid) to be dissolved on the date on which the polls are held in the next ensuing general election.”
It expected that, within 90 days, an election date must and will be set, pursuant to Article 62 (1), which states: “After every dissolution of Parliament the Governor General shall issue writs for a general election of members of appointment the House of Assembly returnable within ninety days from that dissolution.”
No timeline in between the 90 days when the election must be called was given, which means that an election date may be called at any time within the next three months.