Member of Parliament for North Leeward, Roland “Patel” Matthews is questioning what evidence his contender, political newcomer, Carlos James, submitted to elections officials to support the transfer of his voter registration to North Leeward last year.
Matthews, a member of the main opposition New Democratic Party, said that James was first registered to vote in West St. George.
In October 2014, his name appeared for the first time as a voter in North Leeward, Matthews said, adding that James would only qualify to vote in the constituency is he has been living there since March 2014.
“I am very sure that the people who are living in Troumaca, even his neighbours, could confirm whether or not this is true.
“Between March of 2014 and October of 2014, was he a resident of North Leeward?” said Matthews, who also raised questions about James’ suitability to be a candidate in light of the fact that he had pleaded guilty and had been fined for a criminal offence in 2003.
“I believe that he knows the answer to that,” said Matthews, who also raised questions about deception.
“Is there a pattern? That is the question,” he said.
“Was the Supervisor of Elections deceived? Was there enough to show that Mr. James was deserving or qualified to be transferred? These are questions we have to ask. Did Mr. Carlos James meet the qualification to be able to be transferred: major qualification, living in the constituency for approximately six months…
“I am again making this public call to the Supervisor of Elections to please make this public — because you know why? Mr. James is an officer of the law and he knows the law, let us know, as the persons like me so who nah know the law, let us know.
“Because I know for a fact that he was not living in North Leeward for six months prior to when he was registered. I know that for a fact. What I want to know is the evidence he submitted to substantiate or to say he was living in North Leeward for six months prior to him being transferred…
“We are saying that I am not afraid. I am saying that if you are putting up yourself to compete in North Leeward, not because our people are told certain things, not because we are called certain names, … the people I represent, they deserve to know the truth; they deserve to know whether or not that who are being put up to represent them who these people are, if this person is qualified, if he is of good standing….
“Our politicians must have a certain standard. And it doesn’t mean that North Leeward people, because you feel we backward and we stupid that you could just put anybody and compare about leadership and quality candidate,” Matthews said.
Matthews said that the was born in Petit Bordel, which is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and added that he was not sure if James could say the same thing.
Matthews was also critical of James, who said earlier this month at a ULP rally in Chateaubelair, that some rich persons in Cane Garden, Queen’s Drive, and Ratho Mill, sit in their homes drinking coffee and do not want the government to help the poor.
He said James is wanting to draw a distinction between the haves and the have-nots “but didn’t say that those same people that you describe as that, those are the same people who you left North Leeward when you finish secondary school and you live among them.
“And you only see it fit to come back because you want to run for election,” Matthews said.
The North Leeward representative said he was hurt when James mentioned during his campaign speech the names of poor constituents that the government had helped by building toilets unto their homes.
“You are exposing the poorest of our people on a political platform because you feel that will give you political mileage,” Matthews said.
He said that as a politician, he (Matthews) has been criticised because his name is not called saying he gives things, but added that he quietly makes donations to various sports teams in the constituencies.
He further said the schools in the district also know that he contributes.
“But you will never hear I go and boast about it, about which school, which teams or the individual I assisted,” Matthews said.
James had also described Matthews as lazy, saying he spend a lot of time sitting on the steps of his shop.
Matthews said that he spends a lot of time at the shop, because it is the same shop that allows him to be able to help his constituents.
He also raised questions about why James, who is merely a candidate, had delivered an offer letter from the government for a constituent to purchase land.
“Now, Mr. James is not a civil servant. He is not a public servant; he is working with his own firm. How did he come in possession of this letter? And he is doing it while doing his house-to-house campaign — distributing this letter. Why is that? How come that this is possible that you are a candidate but you have in your possession letters telling people, giving the instructions to people to pay for the land that they live on?
“So it is given to you as a way of you trying to get votes. It is given to you because when you hand the letter to the person it is as if you are doing them a favour, so you expect to get a favour from them in return. … This letter could have just been placed in the post. … In Chateaubelair, there are persons who will walk to your door and bring your letter to you. … The point is, you are using those letters to garner votes. And that should stop. That is why I am exposing it now,” Matthews said.