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Opposition Leader says persons trying to subvert election process

Opposition Leader says persons trying to subvert election process

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Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace says he intends to take legal action against persons whom he believes are trying to subvert this country’s election process.

Speaking on NICE Radio on Monday, August 31, Eustace said that he was concerned {{more}}with the registration process of the voters for the upcoming elections — particularly in the East Kingstown constituency, where he is the incumbent.

He indicated that he had already given instructions for legal action to be taken against persons who have transferred to his constituency “under doubtful circumstances”, as well as the registrar in the constituency.

Eustace said that persons in his New Democratic Party (NDP) have been examining the voter registration process, and have identified irregularities with persons who have been transferred, and those registered to vote for the first time.

This, he said, needs to be addressed.

“I have great concern about the efficiency and the integrity about the process of registration that I have seen so far where East Kingstown is concerned… In the case of East Kingstown, over 650 new registrants, and up to February/March, 238 transferred from another constituency into East Kingstown.

“In South Leeward, the new registrants already exceed 800 registered and there have been a series of transfers…. I was told by Dr [Linton] Lewis that 49 persons have been transferred into East St George….”

The Opposition Leader noted that it is expected that when a person transfers to a different constituency, that individual would have lived in the constituency to which they have transferred.

Identifying six individuals from a list of names, Eustace said that the persons have transferred to his constituency, but are not living there.

He pointed out that there were more persons to be publicly identified, when the circumstances of their transfers have been thoroughly checked.

“It is totally unacceptable… We are not going to take this matter of violating the rules lightly or breaking the law. The NDP will be very firm in this matter… Adult suffrage came to us after much pain, but now they are trying to destroy the process through corruption. But we will not stand idly by and allow the process to be corrupted, and we will do everything we can within the framework of the law to deal with these matters, both with the registration officer, whoever he or she may be, and all those persons who violate the law. We have to look for it, because it is happening and it will distort the vote if we just leave it alone. So, we will not be leaving it alone.”

Eustace also indicated that the registration officer, whom he identified as “Miss Cambridge”, would be facing legal action, since that individual is responsible for where the voters are, and should know if the transfer is legitimate.

“I will write the Supervisor of Elections based on what I said here today. I believe I have an obligation to inform her officially on what we found and our thinking on the matter,” Eustace said.

“I don’t want anybody to try and short-circuit the process through corruption; we have enough of that in the country already; let us not add that to all the other ills that we face in St Vincent and the Grenadines at this time.

 “When you win elections, it is expected that you would win free and fair elections and I not waiting till polling day or after the polls close; we gonna take action now in relation to these matters,” he added. (JJ)