Supervisor of Elections, Sylvia Findlay, says she will consult with other persons about the boundaries between East and Central Kingstown amidst a controversy in which a man has accused a politician of encouraging him to register in the wrong constituency in 2010.
“I will need to have that thoroughly checked because there are some very thin lines of demarcation between some of the boundaries, especially along the border. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to determine what is one constituency and what is the other. I really wouldn’t want to say that I can speak with any degree of authority on that,” Findlay told I-Witness News on Thursday.
“I have an idea as to the boundary, but I will also want to consult with other persons who I think know the boundaries better than I do,” said Findlay, who is out of office until Monday.
She, however, told I-Witness News that some persons who are supposedly living close to each other are registered in different constituencies.
A man who identified himself as Shavis Trimmingham of Murray’s Village, said on the ruling Unity Labour Party’s radio station on Wednesday that he was previously registered in Central Kingstown but has changed his voter registration to East Kingstown.
He accused MP for Central Kingstown, the main opposition New Democratic Party’s St. Clair Leacock, of “playing on my ignorance of the boundaries and got me to register in Central Kingstown to vote for him in the 2010 general election.
“These people have no shame. All I have done now is correct the wrong that Leacock made me do and register in East Kingstown, where I truly belong,” Trimmingham said.
He also told listeners that he intends to vote for the ULP’s Luke Browne, who is trying to unseat NDP president and Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace as MP for East Kingstown in the upcoming general elections.
“My greatest sin where the likes of Arnhim Eustace and St. Clair Leacock are concerned, is the fact that I am now in my right constituency and I have decided to support Luke Browne and the ULP.
“Nothing can make me change my mind, and nothing can change my mind and all of the young people like myself that the NDP is trying to prosecute for their right to vote. They can’t stop this. Luke Browne for a better East Kingstown,” said Trimmingham, who told listeners he has lived in Murray’s Village for the past 20 or so years.
But Leacock told I-Witness News on Wednesday that while he knows Trimmingham and his family very well, he couldn’t recall canvassing the young man in 2010.
“But again, the person I am, I would feel badly if I had not canvassed him, because the household in which he lives is fundamentally what I would call supporters of my own.”
Leacock said Trimmingham’s father, who died about two years ago, walked him through Murray’s Village and introduced him to residents.
“And his mother as well is a very strong and avid supporter of mine,” the Central Kingstown MP said.
Leacock maintained that the household lives in Central Kingstown.
“It is Central Kingstown, so clearly there is ignorance here on the part of Shavis Trimmingham and Mr. [Anthony] Dennie (the host of the radio programme).”
Leacock said that as he understands it, the Central Kingstown boundary is South River road, coming up to Grammar School and Girl High School, up to the point of Star Garage on Murray’s road.
“From the junction there, the road, Murray’s Road, becomes the boundary. So the road is in fact the boundary for Central Kingstown and East Kingstown…” he told I-Witness News.
“So the fact of the matter is that in 2010 and now in 2015, Mr. Trimmingham and his family are still living in Central Kingstown. In fact, if they are registered otherwise, they are in error,” he said.
Leacock said he was confident that the boundaries, as he knows them, are correct, having driven the constituency with former supervisor of elections, Selwyn Jones, who showed him where the boundaries are.
“So I know my constituency. The left hand of the road is mine; the right hand is Mr. Eustace’s …
“So I am prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to the young man and to the station. It’s unfortunate,” he said.
I-Witness News visited the area in Murray’s Village on Thursday where there seems to be confusion among the Trimmingham households about where the boundaries are.
One man in a house said that the river is the boundary and, therefore, he lives in East Kingstown, since his house is right of the river.
But a woman at the house where Chavis lives, which is located directly above the first house, also on the right of the river, said that she lives in Central Kingstown.
The Supervisor of Elections has told I-Witness News that she should be able to give a definite determination about the boundaries by the middle of next week.
So, some members of the same household are registered in East Kingstown while others are registered in Central Kingstown. Surely that is the bigger issue here.
I think that this sums up the whole Registration process – you say where you want to be registered and they register you in that constituency without doing any proper checks.
How can the situation be avoided? – It probably can’t as we live in a Country where there are no road names and no clear boundaries between one village and another.
Everyone knew that an election is due by 2016. Surely it would have made sense to get all these things sorted out well in advance of any election.
If a representative believes, based on information given to them, that a certain household is in their constituency then surely they are going to ensure that any supporter who is ‘within’ their boundary is registered in their constituency.
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