ST. VINCENT: – The secretary of the Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace was assaulted this week as she monitored registration for the Dec. 13 general elections in Eustace’s East Kingstown constituency Tuesday night, Nov. 17.
I Witness-News understands that police in Kingstown are investigating the incident, during which Randy Gurley of Rockies, East Kingstown, reportedly grabbed Rishatha Nicholls by the throat.
Eustace recounted the incident to supporters of his New Democratic Party (NDP) at a rally in Questelles, South Leeward on Wednesday, Nov 17, as he said the 15-day special registration period presents opportunities “for fraud and corruption”.
“And the fraud and corruption has already started,” he said as he spoke of the attack on the female staffer.
Eustace said the incident occurred as a man who has relocated from Union Island in the Southern Grenadines was registering to vote in East Kingstown, where he has been living for several years.
“And as he went into the registering office at the community centre in Rockies, my secretary, who was monitoring and sitting on the wall outside, called him by his first name and ask him what is his surname. He told her his surname and he went in to do his business. A young man standing on the bank gripped her by the throat and said ‘You aint have no right to ask anybody no name,” Eustace said.
He said a scramble ensured during which his secretary “got some injury” and was taken to see a doctor.
“The police came onto the scene. They chased down the young man and they arrested him. And, I believe he appeared in court this morning (Wednesday),” he further said.
“That young man didn’t have anything to do with the registering process. He is not a registering officer. He was just standing and observing but he was so incensed that he found it necessary to put his hand around her throat.
“You know, that is a simply example of what is happening in our country. The Unity Labour Party is so desperate to stay in power in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that I am convinced that they will do anything,” he told his supporters.
Eustace also said that voters were being registered in constituencies in which they do not live.
“I have evidence that people are being registered at people’s home not at any registering centre; that people are being taken in Senator [St. Clair] Leacock’s [Central Kingstown] constituency and registered in mine and I will give them some names when I go in.”
He said he will present that evidence to the Supervisor of Elections during an upcoming meeting.
“And I know that in the last elections, people came from as far as Colonarie to come and vote in East Kingstown,” he added.
He said that at one time, there were 13 persons surnamed Pereira registered to vote in East Kingstown although the constituency does not have residents with that surname.
“That is how they want to win elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. But I’m telling them not his time. The New Democratic Party of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is going to win the next general elections in this country.
“… But at the same time, we must understand very clearly that we must be very vigilant … because they are trying to win this election by fraud. It is a very serious matter. This is something that was used in 2005 and people like Senator Leacock and so on would have easily won their seats without that kind of fraud taking place,” Eustace said.
Leacock lost that election to the ULP’s Conrad Sayers by 16 votes.