Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram

Rishard Khan

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Although the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has put measures in place for nationals under COVID-19 quarantine to vote as special electors in the August 10 General Election, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram says only those currently quarantined will be able to do so.

Speaking during yesterday’s Ministry of Health virtual media conference, Parasram explained that forms were collected from the EBC and had already been distributed to those in quarantine. However, the deadline for registration as a special elector was on July 17 and therefore only those who are currently in quarantine and had gone through that process would be able to receive this facility.

However, he noted that although some nationals were currently quarantined, if all goes as planned and they do not present with COVID-19, they could be released before the special election carded for the first week of August.

“We have distributed the forms just out of caution to give them the opportunity to register in the event they may become positive and they have to stay longer and I am supposed to receive feedback from the different sites today (yesterday)…to determine how many people actually filled them out,” Parasram said.

Asked if the ministry had reached out to individuals scheduled to return to the country to facilitate the electoral process, he said: “In terms of the persons coming in, no, because there’s that EBC deadline…persons beyond that date would not be eligible to be considered.”

On July 6, EBC Chief Elections Officer Fern Narcis-Scope told Guardian Media that arrangements would be made to ensure that even nationals in quarantine would not be disenfranchised during the General Election.

“We have advised the CMO that it is our intention to allow people who are in quarantine the opportunity to vote. They will be treated as special electors and will be taken care of in accordance with the legislation that speaks to the situation for special electors,” Narcis-Scope said then.

“Persons who are in quarantine will be asked to apply to be treated as a special elector and thereafter arrangements will be made for a special polling station to be set up in that quarantine facility during the period for special voting so these people in quarantine can vote.”