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NDP PROTEST ELECTION ‘IRREGULARITIES’

NDP PROTEST ELECTION ‘IRREGULARITIES’

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Arnhim Eustace, President of the New Democratic Party (NDP), made it clear to the nation on Monday and especially to factions of the NDP who are calling for the Unity Labour Party (ULP) to be given a dose of its own medicine, the NDP will not block the roads.

In 2000, the Organization in Defence of Democracy (ODD) and the then Opposition Unity Labour Party (ULP), brought the NDP administration down when they blocked roads in protest of the Pensions and Gratuity Bill.{{more}}

Now that the NDP are protesting what they consider to be irregularities in the electoral process of the 2005 General Elections, some supporters are advocating that the NDP do likewise and block the roads.

“People have said we should respond in kind…you hear the lady out there: we should block roads too.

“Let me say this and I am very serious about this because I want people to understand me clearly. When you do that, what chance St.Vincent and the Grenadines has to benefit? It is not doing anything at all for this country. We are paying a price in this country for what happened back in 2000,” said Eustace at a press conference on Monday at the NDP headquarters.

Eustace noted that people do not understand what the implications are for St.Vincent and the Grenadines and its people when the country is portrayed on the international scene as unstable. Eustace is of the view that such actions affect investments and income to this country.

“It is not only for a little while, for a long while,” Eustace noted.

He said any action taken by the NDP will be done on principle.

“Silly talks, about you know, blood, I’m not going down that road. No, you go down without me,” Eustace warned. “As long as I am the leader of this New Democratic Party I will be taking an approach which I believe is in the country’s interest, is in the interest of the people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines. I did not come back here just for so. I came back here to serve and I have a particular approach to this. I have discussed it with my colleagues and we have taken a stand to serve you.”

Eustace charged: “The NDP accepts the first past the post system but we are appalled and horrified at the widespread and unprecedented level of irregularities and violation of the electoral process.

“These violations include multiple instances of ballot boxes not sealed, illegal transfers of voters, violations by presiding officers of the secrecy of the ballot, deliberately tearing of ballots vertically by a presiding officer, thus depriving voters from exercising their choice. The lack of knowledge of the process by some of the presiding officers. Some ballots counted only at the final count, were not counted in the preliminary count. The disappearance of many of the counter foils torn off by the presiding officers. Persons voting in the constituencies in which they do not reside. This list of irregularities is endless.”

Eustace said besides a protest march and rally on Wednesday night against the irregularities that the NDP believes took place, the NDP has retained a team of lawyers who will be working with candidates in the closely contested seats and the matter will be dealt with in law courts.

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