December 3, 2010
NDP alleges voter fraud

Officials from the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) say they are waiting until the final voters’ list is released before they protest to the Supervisor of Elections about alleged voter registration fraud.{{more}}

At an emergency press conference called by the NDP at their headquarters on Wednesday, December 1, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, accompanied by Bertram Commissiong Q.C, alleged that illegal voter registration activities took place in the West Kingstown Constituency between November 23 and 30.

The Queen’s Counsel documented five instances where NDP observers witnessed persons being registered at the Lowmans Leeward Anglican School and Urban League Centre by persons who they say are agents of the ULP.

The NDP say that they have evidence that these persons have not been residing in the constituency for the last six months, as the law requires them to do, in order to vote in that area.

The West Kingstown Constituency is being contested by Daniel Cummings of the NDP, Michelle Fife of the ULP and Joseph “Bongo Shines” Cain of the Green Party.

According to Commissiong, a person found guilty of these election offences can face a fine of $750 and six months in prison.

Commissiong said that he believes the promise may have been made to the offenders that if the ULP wins the general elections, no prosecution would come against them.

“Or, I dare to go further and say that they (ULP) will even say ‘Even if you are prosecuted privately, we (ULP) will nolle prosequi it as has been done in the past.”

“I think that is what is being held out, and emboldening them to commit those types of offences. I strongly believe so.”

Eustace, also president of the NDP, said that he strongly condemns the actions of the ULP agents which violate the laws of the country.

“This is a very serious offence and undermines democracy; it undermines fair play and we will not stand for that. I want to make that absolutely clear.”

Under our constitution, people have a right to choose a party of their choice, no one can challenge that,” Eustace added. “But elections must be fair! And people must not transfer from one constituency to another, when they don’t live in that constituency, and we know that it is happening and we will deal with those persons accordingly and in accordance with the law.”

Eustace added that the New Democratic Party is going to be very vigilant on Election Day, with a legal team in every constituency, along with about five agents at every polling station.

“We have some pretty clear ideas about some of the persons who in fact have been transferred into East Kingstown, West Kingstown and indeed every other constituency on the mainland…. We are not taking this matter lying down; and we will move to prosecute these persons who violate the election laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

The incumbent East Kingstown representative, who had earlier alleged voter registration fraud against his rival Luke Browne, said that his party is awaiting the final voters list to see if the persons mentioned in their various complaints are indeed registered as they claim, before approaching Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Findlay Scrubb.

“The office of the Supervisor of Elections has functioned normally in recent times; it is not like it was under the former Supervisor… we will go to the Supervisor when we are presenting our information and we expect that we will be dealt with fairly, because in the past, it was even difficult to get a meeting with the Supervisor of Elections; this has not been the case for this Supervisor of Elections….”

Adding to the condemnation of the alleged voter registration misconduct was President of the Young Democrats Nick Francis, who said that the illegal act shows disregard by the ULP for the law.

“…We the youth who are the future of this country are saying that we have had enough of the voter registration fraud that has been taking place and we send a stern warning… that you will face the full extent of the law and will be prosecuted for your crimes should you try to vote fraudulently on Election Day.”

The final voters list is expected to be available on Monday December 6.