by Chair and Supervisor of Elections, Barrington B. Chalmers


Date: February 2, 2024


I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the members of the Montserrat Electoral Commission to you. The Commission comprises four members appointed by the Governor of Montserrat. We are Lovetta Silcott, Ateshia Lewis, Sheron Burns, and I, Barrington B. Chalmers, as the Chairman and Supervisor of Elections.


We, the members of the Commission, would like to express to the people of Montserrat that it is with a great sense of humility, sincerity, and national pride that we accept this opportunity to serve our country. We want to reassure people that we are here to listen to your suggestions and feedback. We also pledge that we will endeavor to conduct ourselves with integrity, fairness, and transparency.


As the Chairman/Supervisor, in my first address to the public, I would like to open this statement by focusing on the “Great Universal Franchise” vote. The next upcoming election will represent the 18th time since its inception in 1952 that this “Great Franchise” has been exercised in our beloved country of Montserrat. Our people, Montserratians, have used this franchise to select many capable men and women to lead us over the years. They realized many successes in our advancement, development, and standards of living.


Our forefathers fought long and hard so that we could have and exercise the right and privilege to vote for and choose who would represent us. Many people are living under tyranny all over this world and would love to have one chance to have the privilege to vote in a free and fair national election. They would love to have one chance for their voices to be heard, and they would love to have one chance to hold their leaders accountable. In our own country before 1952, our councils, leaders, and those who could vote for them were restricted to a very fortunate few who had to meet land qualifications, social status, etc. Most of our forefathers lived in an agrarian/agricultural society, receiving subsistence wages that greatly limited their standards of living. I say all this to say that the act of voting should NOT be taken for granted. It is a cherished right. The right of almost any member of our society to stand for election to high office is a privilege and a demonstration of the stable foundations that those who went before us laid.


After reading through great portions of our Elections Act, constitutional Electoral Provisions, reports, and analysis, we, the Commissioners, want to take a moment to recognize the sterling contributions of those who have served in this capacity previously. We also want to pay tribute to the work of the late Sir Howard A. Fergus. When you take the time to consider the scope, depth, and breadth of his work, it is truly remarkable.


We also want to take this time to highlight some of the core purposes and values of the Electoral Commission:

  • To ensure that general elections are conducted in a free and fair manner with integrity, impartiality, and transparency.
  • To ensure, through registration and enumeration drives, that everyone who qualifies gets the opportunity to register and vote.
  • To improve public participation and minimize people being turned away on election day.
  • To ensure on election night that all the results are accurate and reported efficiently and responsively.
  • To educate the electorate through various means and media and stimulate discussion.
  • To oversee the nomination of candidates.


Above all, we must remain within these parameters. It is of paramount importance that the Electoral Commission remain impartial and neutral on political issues. We desire to earn and maintain the trust and confidence of all participants in the general elections.


After reading through previous election results, the disturbing trend or reality that we have seen is an extremely low participation rate among voters. From 2014 to 2019 alone, voter participation was down 11% to 62.47% of registered voters. The great problem that faces us is that more and more people are objecting to being registered, and fewer and fewer people are voting. This is a concern for us as members of the commission. We have heard many people express varying negative sentiments: “I won’t vote in the next elections; I don’t have the time to vote; it doesn’t make any sense to vote because it changes nothing; none of them politicians can say anything to me again.” It grieves our hearts that many of our fellow citizens have lost interest in participating in our electoral process.


We are about to face a very important election that will shape us, define our policies, and have political consequences for possibly the next five years and beyond. Over the next few months and leading up to the elections, it is our intention as the commission to educate you, the members of the community, and potential members of the electorate on the importance of being on the voters’ list (if eligible) and exercising your right to vote. The electorate must hold our leaders to account. Vibrant, successful democracies do not just fall out of the sky. The people must perform their civic duty and vote for the good of the country.


To the candidates over the years who have presented themselves and made sacrifices to serve our country, we want to say thank you for all you have done. While it would not be appropriate for me to mention names, we believe that as a society we can express gratitude and respect for those who have served us in high positions. We desperately need men and women of integrity, foresight, and vision to present a God-given plan to us. To those courageous candidates, we look forward to hearing about your plans, ambitions, and dreams.


We, here at the Electoral Commission, welcome your feedback, input, and suggestions. Please visit our Facebook page, “Electoral Commission of Montserrat,” and leave your comments. You can also send your questions and suggestions via email to “” We plan to engage and work with a wide range of social groups and media organizations across the nation to educate and stimulate discussions about the electoral process.


The enumeration exercise has been completed, and we are now conducting continuous voter registration for individuals who become eligible under Section 12 of the law. The registration will continue until the list is proclaimed. We have posted preliminary lists of voters on various

buildings within the community and, for the first time, made them available for online viewing on our website, where people can search to see if they are registered. Our goal is to register everyone who qualifies and ensure that no qualified person is turned away on Election Day due to lack of registration.


To conclude, the Electoral Commission wants to commend Montserratians for always contributing to a relatively peaceful election process. We hope that this process will ultimately strengthen our society and make us better. We pray that all our actions will be acceptable before the LORD and that He will give us success, peace, and prosperity.