Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says his Unity Labour Party (ULP) will put “under Labour manners” lawyers hired by the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) to look out for the NDP’s interest during the Dec. 9 poll.
Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace announced last week that
24 lawyers will visit the 15 constituencies during the election.
“Mr. Scotland here is a very senior lawyer from Trinidad and he will head the team who will be at every polling station in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on election day,” Eustace said of Trinidadian lawyer, Keith Scotland.
“These lawyers will come from various parts of the Caribbean because we may have to be making complaints to the Supervisor of Elections even on Election Day that help to solve some of the problems that we face in the various constituencies, the various polling stations on election day. And I really want to welcome them to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They are going to play a major role for us here,” Eustace said.
But speaking at a ULP campaign rally on Saturday, Gonsalves said
Eustace is seeking yet again to intimidate persons who want to vote for the ULP.
“They say that they are going to get 24 lawyers from overseas to watch how we vote. Bring in a whole set of them from Trinidad. What happened, you don’t have enough murderers in Trinidad for the lawyers to take care of that they bringing them to St. Vincent to watch Vincentians carry out their democratic right to vote?” said Gonsalves, who is also a lawyer.
“I want to tell Eustace this, every lawyer you bring, this is a free and democratic country, bring them. But we will photograph every one of them at every polling station to see that they don’t do any wrongness, any wutlissness, nothing illegal.
“We are going to put those 24 lawyers under Labour manners and we put them under Labour manners legally,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves noted that there is a 100-yard delineation at polling stations and told party “not one single one of your lawyers will cross that 100-yard line.
“So stay outside,” Gonsalves said, adding, “You think NDP run things? The Labour masses run things in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“There is no way we are going to allow you with your foolishness and your rubbish to try to see if you could thief elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines by bringing foreign lawyers. Not one bit. You are out of your place. Yo’ want a fight? Bring it on! Bring it on! Bring it on! There is nothing can stop Labour from winning this election overwhelmingly on the ninth of December, Labour day.”
Gonsalves also had some words for Monsignor Michael Stewart, head of the National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism, the local body that will monitor the elections.
He said that during the 2010 elections “some wolves in sheep clothing pretended that they were independent monitors to be part of the National monitoring mechanism.
“We are going to object to any sheep in wolves clothing. You hear me, Father Mike? You are my monsignor, you belong to my church, I am an older catholic than you. Please. Because I know some who will pretend as though they’re independent but they are rabid NDP activists who will come to you in sheep clothing. We will object to anyone of those being monitors for the national monitoring mechanism,” Gonsalves said.
“We will obey the law to the letter, and I say to you that everyone of you who is registered to vote, you will be able to vote, because that has happened legally and if anybody has any challenge, leh they bring it on.”
Gonsalves also said it is wrong for opposition members to say they will prosecute persons who they believe vote illegally.
He said persons can complain to the Supervisor of Election, the police or the Director of Public Prosecution if they think there is anything wrong, but added that the authorities will pay no attention if the complaint is frivolous and has no merit.
“Your lawyers who are coming in from Trinidad and other places, I tell you deal with your criminal in the other country, try and keep your criminals from Trinidad from coming to St. Vincent, don’t bring lawyers here to try to subvert the democratic process,” Gonsalves said.
Leading up to the Dec. 13, 2010 general elections, Gonsalves suggested that he would not have given work permit to lawyers from the region that the NDP had brought to work on its behalf.