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NDP PRO misleads about composition of observer groups

NDP PRO misleads about  composition of observer groups


A high ranking member of the New Democratic Party (NDP) has lied about the composition of observer groups to the December 9 general elections in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Public relations officer of the NDP Vynnette Frederick, in a post on Facebook on Tuesday, falsely named two Vincentians as observers to the elections.{{more}}

“We have no difficulty with election observers from everywhere…as a matter of fact we think they should be here on the ground observing for weeks before the election actually takes place, but when the observers include ELLSWORTH JOHN AND CLARE KEIZER…. Ello yuh tink we doltish or what? #observetheobservers #thisisnotagame #weready #pressgas.”

One person, responding to the post, asked Frederick if she was serious about what she had written.

“I am totally serious,” Frederick responded.

The Organization of American States (OAS), CARICOM and The Commonwealth are the international observer groups who have accepted the Government’s invitation to observe next week’s general elections and have received accreditation to do so. The members of the OAS and Commonwealth observer groups are already in SVG while those from CARICOM will arrive over the weekend.

Protocols governing the conduct of observer missions dictate that nationals or residents of the country whose general elections are being monitored cannot be included in the observer mission to that country.

Elsworth John is ambassador of St Vincent and the Grenadines to Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Caricom and the Organization of East Caribbean States. He is also the director of the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU) and has observed general elections in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia as part of a CARICOM team. Clare Keizer, the editor of SEARCHLIGHT, was part of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Trinidad and Tobago general elections in September 2015.

Responding to Frederick’s post, both John and Keizer advised that they were not members of an observer group to the SVG elections and in any event, would be ineligible. Despite this, up to press time yesterday, Frederick had not removed her post or made a correction.

Frederick’s post came less than one week after leader of the NDP Arnhim Eustace announced that 24 lawyers from the Caribbean would be in SVG during the elections to help the NDP with complaints and help solve some of the problems the NDP might face at the polling stations on Election Day.

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,” Eustace said while addressing a public meeting of the NDP at Arnos Vale on November 26. 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.

Prime minister and political leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) Dr Ralph Gonsalves said Eustace’s announcement of his intention to bring 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.

The ULP political leader has promised extreme scrutiny and surveillance of any personnel brought to the country by the NDP. He advised the foreign lawyers that they would not be able to go closer than 100 yards to a polling station, as stipulated by the Representation of the People Act.

“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,” said Gonsalves during a rally of the ULP last Saturday at Calliaqua.

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.”