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Tempers flare as NDP asks for Central Leeward recount

Tempers flare as NDP asks for Central Leeward recount


Tempers flared yesterday morning at the Layou police station, with veteran politician Sir Louis Straker and the leader of New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Arnhim Eustace almost coming to blows.

The two elderly men squared off when Eustace turned up at the police station in the Central Leeward town for the recount of the ballots cast in that constituency in Wednesday’s general election.{{more}}

Following the preliminary count on Wednesday, Straker, a former deputy prime minister and the ULP’s candidate for the Central Leeward constituency, was announced winner of the seat with 2,496 votes, compared with the NDP’s Benjamin Exeter, who amassed 2,182 votes.

However, the NDP alleged irregularities and declared that it had information that Exeter had won the seat by six votes.

The NDP demanded a recount and called via radio and social media for supporters to gather at the Layou Police Station to give support.

SEARCHLIGHT arrived in Layou at about 9 a.m. and supporters were heard chanting “We want justice”, “Eustace, Eustace!”, “Ralph Must Go,” among other things.

When ULP candidate Sir Louis Straker arrived shortly after to witness the count, the large crowd booed as he entered the police station.

Eustace’s arrival at the police station, however, sparked an outburst of screams and cheers by NDP supporters, which caused Straker, who was already inside the police station witnessing the recount, to come back out and ask Eustace to ask his supporters to move from the area.

“The people cannot do their work upstairs with this kind of bedlam down here,” Straker exclaimed.

He was then asked by Eustace to call the police, which resulted in an agressive exchange of words between the two, during which Straker stated, “Why you come back? You should take your loss like a big man!”

This sparked a stand-off between the two, during which they pointed aggressively in each other’s faces.

The exchange was, however, intercepted by Eustace’s bodyguard, who stood between the two, allowing them to cool down.

The recount continued all day, during which supporters stood guard on the Layou waterfront, cheering and dancing in support of their party.(AS)