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Supervisor of Elections accosted aggresively for a second time

Supervisor of Elections accosted aggresively for a second time

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Persons attached to the New Democratic Party (NDP) have, for a second time, aggressively accosted supervisor of elections Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb, causing her to be once again placed under police protection.

The latest incident took place last Sunday, as Findlay was exciting the Electoral Office on Bay Street and follows the refusal of the NDP to accept the results of the December 9 general elections.{{more}}

The episode, which was filmed and placed on social media site Facebook on Sunday, shows Findlay, the returning officer for Central Leeward Winston Gaymes and election clerk Clyde Robinson exiting the Electoral Office and being confronted by angry supporters of the NDP, who questioned why was the trio present at the office on a Sunday.

“Tell us why you are at the electoral office on a Sunday Mr Gaymes,” shouts a person who is off-camera.

As Findlay made her way to a waiting vehicle, escorted by police, bystanders could be heard hurling insults and questioning her about her activities.

One person could be heard telling others to follow Findlay’s vehicle.

This is the second time that the police have had to come to the assistance of Findlay, as on Election Day, December 9, she was placed under police guard after lawyers Vynnette Frederick and Keith Scotland entered the Electoral Office in the company of four males. The confrontation was videotaped by the group, whom Findlay later described as “aggressive.”

Yesterday, just after midday, Findlay issued a statement explaining why she was present at the Electoral Office with Gaymes and Robinson on Sunday.

She noted that because of the volatile situation that existed in St Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday, December 10, she took the decision to delay the transportation and delivery of ballot boxes and other election materials to the Electoral Office until Friday, December 11.

Findlay explained that on Saturday, December 12, she returned to the office at approximately 10:30 a.m. to complete outstanding administrative work, specifically certifying outstanding payments, responding to correspondence and tidying her office space.

“While at the office, I listened to the press conference hosted by the NDP in which alleged voting irregularities in the Central Leeward constituency were highlighted. I, therefore, contacted the Returning Officer and the Election Clerk and requested an urgent meeting to review the issues raised at the NDP Press Conference. I felt that Sunday afternoon seemed like a convenient time to meet, since the meeting could be held in a quiet, uninterrupted setting. Additionally, I needed to be clear on the way forward, as the office continued its post-election duties.”

Findlay explained that the meeting convened just after 1:30 p.m. Sunday, and almost immediately a crowd gathered, which included at least two males who were using video cameras.

“When the meeting ended at 3:10 p.m., the returning officer, Mr Winston Gaymes and the election clerk, Mr Clyde Robinson, exited the building to be confronted by a hostile crowd. Thanks to the excellent work of the two police officers on duty at the Electoral Office, both gentlemen were safely escorted to their respective vehicles.

I stood just outside the doorway of the Electoral Office building, observing what was taking place, while being subjected to verbal abuse from those persons gathered in front of the building. It was at this time I overheard a female, who appeared to be one of the organizers of the protest saying to two male protesters ‘Do not touch her; I will not agree to that’. Not being sure who she was referring to, I telephoned the Commissioner of Police and requested police escort to my home. I also telephoned my brother to drive me home. As I left the building and entered my brother’s waiting vehicle, I was again subjected to more verbal attacks by the protesters, who, among other things, demanded to know why I was at the Electoral Office on a Sunday.”

The Supervisor said that records will show that since November 7, 2015 (the date on which the election date was announced), she has been at the Electoral Office every day until Sunday, December 13, Saturdays and Sundays included.

“My work day, even on weekends, ran from approximately 8:30 a.m. to as late as 12 midnight on Sunday, 6th December. The full-time staff of the Electoral Office has also worked every day of the week from Monday, 9th November to Tuesday, 8th December, from as early as 7 a.m., to as late as 12 midnight. I hasten to add this also obtained in 2009 for the Referendum, as well as for the 2010 General Election,” Findlay-Scrubb explained in Monday’s release.

She said that on Sunday, December 13, a woman hired to clean the Customer Service area and other spaces in the Electoral Office was also present.

“The Office of the Supervisor of Elections wishes to record its profound disappointment with the latest display of disrespect meted out by a small sector of the Vincentian Community, but which nonetheless can do irreparable damage to the high regard in which the Vincentian electoral system has been held since 1951 when the nation conducted its first elections.

“The Office is committed to free, fair and transparent elections. The Office is equally convinced that when all the facts are known, it will be evident that the allegations which are now being made are based on misinformation and half-truths and untruths”, stressed Findlay-Scrubb.”

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