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    June 19

  • 06:21 AM

Controversy over ballot boxes

MARIA BRADSHAW, mariabradshaw@nationnews.com

Added 25 May 2018

roseann-parris-4

Roseann Parris (left), election agent for William Duguid, keeping an eye on the arriving ballot boxes. (Picture by Maria Bradshaw.)

The Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) Dr William Duguid claimed last night to have uncovered a plot to remove boxes from certain polling stations in Christ Church West.

However, returning officer Wayne Taylor denied any knowledge of it, while Francis DePeiza, brother and election agent of Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate Verla DePeiza, said no box was ever missing or tampered with.

An angry Duguid arrived at the counting station, Arthur Smith Primary School
in St Matthias, with his election agent, Roseann Parris, at 8 p.m. on board the Transport Board bus with the boxes.

Last person

He was the last person to disembark and told the media that Box ZA1, from the Barbados Council for the Disabled polling station, had been placed on a van from the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).

“We were made aware that there was a plot to remove boxes from certain polling stations in Christ Church West. We had done our vigilance all throughout the constituency and I alerted all of my people that there was that intent. What happened then is that while I was here at the polling station at Arthur Smith, I got a call from one of my people that two boxes were on a BIDC van,” he charged.

Duguid said he alerted Taylor.

“He called and then it was confirmed that a box was indeed on a BIDC van. The box had to be taken off the van and the question is if the same box that went out on the van was the same box that came back to the station. We still are not sure.”

Duguid, a dentist, also charged he had information that two other boxes – ZC3, which was at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and ZC2 in the Bonnetts Resource Centre – were also supposed to be removed. He said he then boarded the bus to the polling station.

But DePeiza said box ZA1 was always accounted for.

“Whatever the hyperbole surrounding the situation, I happened to be present at the ZA1 box at the close of polling at 6 o’clock, over at the Barbados Council for the Disabled. There may have been some miscommunication.
I cannot comment on it because it would be outside of my scope, but while I was there, the box that I saw never went missing,” he explained.

DePeiza said there were two ballot boxes in separate rooms and while officials from the Electoral and Boundaries Commission were going about their duties at the close of the poll, one box was completed ahead of the other.

Controversy

“The box, I have been made to understand, is the source of some controversy. I can certainly say that none of the boxes at that location were ever out of the eyesight of my agents.”

Depeiza added that if a box was not placed on the bus, “that may not be through any fault of the officers.

“The security of that box was never compromised. It was never out of the possession of the Electoral and Boundaries officer who had custody of it,” he said.

He also confirmed he had seen the box “and the seal of the box and there is no question that it has not been compromised”.

DePeiza said he was satisfied “that we still do have peaceful and fair elections and I am satisfied that the electoral process has triumphed”. (MB)

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