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NDP elected candidates will not be sworn into office – Eustace

NDP elected candidates will not be sworn into office – Eustace

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The candidates of the New Democratic Party (NDP) who won their seats in last Wednesday’s general elections will not be sworn into office, nor will they attend Parliament.

And according to president of the NDP Arnhim Eustace, this is because the party has “unmistaken proof that the election {{more}}was stolen.”

Eustace made the party’s position clear last Saturday at a press conference at Democrat House.

“We will not be swearing into office, neither will we go to Parliament until this matter is resolved,” he stated.

Eustace said if he and his elected members were to go to Parliament, that would mean that the NDP had conceded defeat, “and we are not conceding!”

According to Eustace, the NDP has confirmed over 320 illegal votes were cast in Central Leeward in two polling stations and that none of the ballot boxes were sealed.

The supervisor of elections, in a release issued yesterday, said all ballot boxes were properly sealed with both the plastic and paper seals in place.

Eustace, however, did not give any further details of how the election was allegedly “stolen,” because of “security and legal reasons.”

“The general elections held on December 9 were conducted under circumstances that were illegal, which has undermined the will of the electorate who voted — I know this view is shared by the majority of Vincentians, who are aware of the miserable socio and economic conditions in this country under the ULP government,” Eustace stated.

Last Thursday, Eustace issued a statement declaring victory in the December 9 elections, claiming that the NDP had won the Central Leeward constituency, although official results put the seat in the column of the ULP, giving their opponents a one seat majority.

According to the official results, Straker gained 2,497 votes while Benjamin Exeter of the NDP got 2,184 votes.

At Saturday’s press conference, Eustace reiterated that his party does not accept the ULP government and said his legal team will challenge the election results.

“Our people expect free and fair elections” said Eustace, “I would’ve liked to give all the details I have… but it is not wise from a legal perspective.”

“It is really interesting … that in a supposedly free and democratic country that we find ourselves in this situation where we cannot vouch for sanctity of the poll in a general election in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This is a disgrace. It is something that we have to be ashamed of, something that should be condemned by the international regional community.”

Waving a piece of paper, Eustace added that he had a statement of the poll after the counting was conducted by the presiding officer which indicated that at polling station A1 in Central Leeward, 100 per cent of the people on the list voted.

“Where you could ever hear that? When you hear 65 or 70 per cent voting in a polling station, you figure you are doing pretty well. But to have 100 per cent of the vote being cast … is really a serious matter. It can’t happen that 100 per cent of the people will turn out to vote.”

He further noted, “In that same polling station, a lady living in Tobago is on the voters list and she voted but she’s still in Tobago.”

“We are continuing to investigate that particular matter because that brings up another very important issue; that there are people whose names or whose ballots were filled out by somebody else and that person voted, we will be giving a great deal of attention to that” Eustace said, adding, “The lady herself has already been on Facebook indicating that she wasn’t here.”

“Now, when you combine that with the number of polling stations – I think you have about three – where you had a hundred per cent, and in one case, over a hundred per cent of the people voting, it tells you that this whole election is a fraud and we must not accept the results of the elections! And the New Democratic Party will NOT accept the results of this election!”

“So we will take the necessary legal action, our team who have been working almost full time, right now we have people in the field dealing with some of these issues, so it’s clear to me today that the ULP did not win the election on Wednesday and we will continue, and we are continuing today to the necessary work and in the next 48 hours we will expect to have some matters before the court.”

Eustace indicated that he is aware that it is the Christmas season and a lot of persons would want to turn their minds to Christmas and it is understandable.

“I want you to recognize that work is still going on,” he said, adding that he was criticized for not making a statement on Thursday or Friday.

“The day before I was standing on the steps of the Layou police station for six and half hours in front of the crowd of people who were down there,” he said, apologizing for not making statements or visiting his East Kingstown constituency.

“I want to say to you, we are not, under any circumstance, giving in to this particular issue… I cannot tell you how much time it will take, I don’t know. It is a legal matter. It could be short and I hope it is short. But we are doing the work that is necessary for us to form government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines not long from now.”

According to the Representation of the People Act, individuals have 21 days after the returning officer has made their returns to file petitions challenging the results of the general elections.(AS)

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