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Don’t go beyond the 100 yard line – Gonsalves

Don’t go beyond the 100 yard line – Gonsalves

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The 24 lawyers from around the Caribbean who will come to St Vincent and the Grenadines to work with the New Democratic Party (NDP) on Election Day will be put under ‘Labour manners.’

This emphatic message was sent to the lawyers and the NDP last Saturday evening by Prime Minister and political leader of the Unity {{more}}Labour Party (ULP) Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who said the annoucement by NDP president Arnhim Eustace of his intention to bring the lawyers here to monitor the elections process was designed to intimidate ULP voters.

“Eustace is seeking yet again to intimidate the people of this country who want to go out and vote on Election Day for the ULP,” said Gonsalves.

“…they say that they are going to get 24 lawyers from overseas to watch how we vote, bring in a whole set of them from Trinidad. What happen you don’t have enough murderers in Trinidad for the lawyers to take care of, that they bringing them in St Vincent to watch Vincentians carrying out their democratic right to vote?”

The ULP political leader has promised extreme scrutiny and surveillance of any personnel brought to the country by the NDP.

“I want to tell Eustace this, every lawyer you bring, this is a free and democratic country, bring them, but we will photograph every one of them at every polling station to see that they don’t do any wrongness, any worthlessness, anything illegal, we are going to put those 24 lawyers under Labour manners and we will put them under Labour manners legally.

“I want all those lawyers who coming from foreign to want to see if they could contribute to preventing people from voting, [to know] there is a 100 yard line, and Eustace, not one single one of your lawyers will cross that 100 yard line; they will stay outside,” shouted Gonsalves during Saturday’s rally.

He further stressed, “you (Eustace) think NDP run things? The Labour masses run things in St Vincent and the Grenadines. There is no way we are going to allow you (Eustace) with your foolishness and rubbish to try and see if you can thief elections in St Vincent and the Grenadines by bringing foreign lawyers. Not one bit; you out of place. You want a fight? Bring it on, bring it on, bring it on.”

The ULP head man said that in his opinion, there is nothing that can stop his party from gaining an overwhelming victory on Election Day.

The Prime Minister also encouraged Monsignor Michael Stewart of the Catholic Church, who is the head of the Christian Council and the local monitoring mechanism, to be vigilant when choosing persons who will monitor the voting process.

“I want to advise my dear Monsignor Michael Stewart, who is a good man, who heads the monitoring mechanism locally, the last time some wolves in sheep clothing pretended that they were independent monitors to be part of the national monitoring mechanism. We are going to object to any wolves in sheep clothing. You hear me, Father Mike? You are my Monsignor, you head my church. I am an older Catholic than you; I am just advising you, please, because I know some that will pretend like they are independent, but there are rabid NDP activists who will come to you in sheep clothing, but we will object to those being monitors for the national monitoring mechanism.”

Gonsalves noted that the ULP will obey all laws and everybody who is registered to vote and wants to do so, will be able to vote, “because that (registering process) has happened legally and anybody who has any challenge let them bring it on.”

He said that Eustace, along with the NDP’s East St George representative Linton Lewis and the NDP’s West St George candidate Jules Ferdinand have been saying that they will prosecute people who they think are illegally registered, but that is not possible.

“I am telling each of you, you all are not prosecutors. Learn the law; if you think that there is anything wrong, you can complain and I can complain to the supervisor of elections, to the police to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but if your complaint is frivolous and has no merit, the police and the DPP will pay no attention to you.”

The Prime Minister said that he thinks that the lawyers who want to come here to monitor will be better served remaining in their countries to deal with the criminals there.

“…Your lawyers that are coming in from Trinidad and other countries, deal with your criminals and try and keep your criminals from Trinidad to come to St Vincent and the Grenadines; don’t bring lawyers here to try to subvert the democratic rights.

“Don’t for one moment think that we are going to allow the NDP and their foreign lawyers to try to thief this election from the people of SVG. Never; we will put you under Labour manners. We will do it legally and you will not be permitted, not one of you to go past the 100 yards to go anywhere inside the polling station, you have no business inside of it.

“If you want problems on Election Day, do your foolishness. Arnhim Eustace; you talking rubbish, you talking foolishness, you talking nonsense, idiocy. That is how you want to win election against the will of the people?”

The political leader, however, told his supporters to be peaceful and not do anything to stop the NDP from campaigning or holding public meetings.

“I don’t want you to stop them from holding any public meeting and if they arguing with you, just say ‘Labour love’,” said Gonsalves, who urged the ULP’s supporters to keep their focus.

Last Thursday, during a rally of the NDP at Arnos Vale, Eustace introduced Trinidadian lawyer Keith Scotland as one of the 24 lawyers whom he said would make up the group. Scotland is expected to head the team.

Eustace said that the lawyers will come from various parts of the Caribbean to help the NDP with complaints and help solve some of the problems the NDP might face at the polling stations on Election Day.

“They are going to play a big role for us here,” said Eustace, who revealed that statistics show that the voters in East Kingstown have gone up by over 1,200 since the last general elections, with over 300 transfers. He said that the numbers are similar in other constituencies and he intends to do something about illegal registration.

“I am tired about the corruption,” said Eustace, adding that he recently spoke to a young woman who was transferred from the Grenadines to East Kingstown and when he challenged her, she admitted she was illegally registered because she was encouraged by a politician to do so.

Eustace said that during the last general elections, while he was at a polling station in Cane Garden, a van from Colonarie drove up with persons to vote and lawyer Mira Commissiong went to the vehicle and said “I will lock up all ah you,” and the van left without any of the occupants voting.

He said that persons who vote illegally on Election Day will be charged, as the level of corruption has gone far beyond what it initially was.(LC)

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