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PM, Eustace still in battle mode

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The December 7 General Elections are over but the fight is still on. Earlier this week both Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace vowed to pursue the post elections debate.

In his opening remarks of the Budget presentation on Monday, Prime Minister Gonsalves lambasted the Opposition for allegations they made following the General Elections that the results had serious discrepancies.{{more}}

He described the claims as irresponsible, and unpatriotic, since they were made without a sound basis.

Shortly after the General Elections, the Opposition had promised to file petitions in the High Court contesting the outcome but later declined from doing so.

The Prime Minister used the opportunity to express his concern that “honest persons in the conduct of their official duties” were defamed.

“As Prime Minister, I take the false allegations most seriously. I assure this Honourable House, Mr. Speaker, that it has not heard the last from me on the most irresponsible conduct and utterances of the Opposition,”

Dr. Gonsalves warned.

He said it was unfortunate that “the overall losers in the recently-concluded general elections unfairly maligned the sound reputation of our country and the good name of honest public officials and political leaders by falsely alleging that they – the overall losers – were in possession of “overwhelming evidence” of electoral fraud and electoral irregularities on a scale so large as to vitiate the verdict of the electorate”.

Dr. Gonsalves charged that the Opposition falsely alleged that there was somehow a conspiracy involving election officials and the top brass of the Unity Labour Party to steal the elections.

He said that though election petitions have not been filed, “No one in the Opposition had the basic decency to apologize to the people of this country for the damage caused to our country’s reputation by the wild allegations of “electoral fraud”.

He noted that even the independent observers from CARICOM and the Organization of American States (OAS) who had declared the elections free and fair did not escape the critiques by the Opposition.

Opposition Leader, Eustace, in his address on Tuesday, said the Prime Minister in his opening remarks accused the Opposition of creating alarm because of issues that they had raised relating “to the irregularities in the General Elections”.

“In this Elections we’ve had more irregularities of any elections ever held in this country since 1951,” Eustace lamented.

Eustace said the fact that the Opposition did not submit “any petition does not change the fact that there were serious irregularities in many constituencies” during the last elections. At that point Dr. Gonsalves interjected stating that it was all allegations. Eustace, who was still on the floor responded, “it happened”.

“I want to say to the Honourable Prime Minister that he said yesterday that from his perspective this matter is not over. From mine too, it is not over either,” said Eustace making his position clear.