UNC requests delay election result in Trinidad and Tobago
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) said that requests made by defeated candidates for “other documents” during the recount of ballots in five constituencies had no “legal bearings” and had the effect of “prolonging the process unnecessary”.
The defeated candidates of the United National Congress (UNC) requested a recount in five constituencies and at a news conference on Saturday claimed that there were “numerous irregularities and recounting of ballots” following the August 10 poll. UNC leader Kamla Persad Bissessar has yet to concede defeat.
Preliminary figures released by the EBC show that the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) won 22 of the 41 seats with the remainder going to the UNC.
“Our population must note that the process is not just about recounting of ballots but verification and authenticating the validity of the ballots. The recount process is meant to remove all speculation for the over three hundred thousand citizens who voted for the UNC which is the constitutional right for all citizens and more so to ensure our democratic principles are kept,” the UNC said in a statement, adding that “during the elections, several irregularities were noticed and even more unearthed during the recounting of the ballots”
The failed candidates also claimed that their requests for documents have not been successful and accused the EBC of not being “transparent” with David Nakhid, the defeated candidate in the Tunapuna constituency claiming that 25 ballot boxes had been counted in the absence of himself and UNC agents.
But in its statement, the EBC said that during the recount, there have been requests to inspect additional documents and requests for specimens of initials.
“These requests have no legal bearing on the recount. The raising of matters not properly to be considered at a recount, together with non-adherence to the times set by Returning Officers for the conduct of a recount, has had the effect of prolonging the process unnecessarily.
“On Poll Day, at each polling station, representatives of candidates (polling agents) are present all day to observe the process and to witness the counting of the ballots/poll cards when the polls close. No polling agent, of any party, made any objection to the proceedings on the day.”
The EBC said that at the end of the count on the night of August 10, “no objection was raised by any polling agent and all witnesses signed the Statements of Poll, agreeing to the accuracy of the count and satisfaction with the process.
“The EBC gives the assurance that it is doing whatever is necessary, within the law, to facilitate and expedite the proper conduct of the recounts, so they can be completed in the shortest possible time,” it added.
The UNC candidates for the constituencies of St. Joseph, Tunapuna, La Horquetta/Talparo, Toco/Sangre Grande, San Fernando West have all requested recounts. (CMC)