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President of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Arnhim Eustace on Saturday said that the party has “unmistakable proof” that Wednesday’s general elections were “stolen”.
Electoral officials have declared the Unity Labour Party (ULP) winners of the election by a one-seat majority, a repeat of the 2010 election result.
But the NDP, which has been declared winners of the seven remaining seats, is claiming victory, saying that it also won the Central Leeward seat, which official have placed in the ULP column.
Eustace told the media and party supporters at NDP headquarters, Democrat House, in Kingstown that since his initial statement on radio Friday night, additional information has surfaced “confirming, first of all, that there were over 320 illegal votes cast in the constituency of Central Leeward alone”, and noted that the ULP’s Louis Straker, who has been declared winner of the seat, won by 318 votes.
“And that is only in two polling station,” Eustace said of the voters who he claimed cast ballots illegally in Central Leeward.
“I can also say that none … of those [ballot] boxes were sealed,” Eustace said.
“You know, as I grapple with the information received this morning, I became very angry, because our people expect free and fair elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said to applause from party supporters.
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Eustace said he would have liked to give all the details he had at the event, adding, “but it is not wise from a legal perspective”.
“It really is disgraceful that in a supposedly free and democratic country, that we find ourselves in this situation where we cannot vouch for the sanctity of the poll in a general election in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is a disgrace. Ir is something that we have to be ashamed of, something that should be condemned by the international and regional community.”
Eustace said he has a statement of the poll after the counting of the ballots by the presiding officer. “And believe it or not, in CLA1 – that’s the polling station, 100 per cent of the people on the list voted. Where you can ever hear that? When you get 65 per cent or 70 per cent voting in a polling station, you figure you are doing pretty well. But to have 100 per cent of the votes being cast of those persons in the list is really a very serious matter. It can’t happen that 100 per cent of the people will turn out to vote.”
Eustace said that what is more notable is that in that same polling station, a lady living in Tobago is listed as having voted, but she was in Tobago.
“We are continuing to investigate that particular matter, because that brings up another very important issue: that there are people whose names or whose ballots were filled out by somebody else and that person voted. We will be giving a great deal of attention to that.
“And the lady herself has already been on Facebook indicating that she wasn’t here,” Eustace said.
“Now, when you combine that with the number of polling stations — I think you have about three — where you had a hundred per cent, and, in one case, over a hundred per cent of the people voting, it tells you that this whole election is a fraud and we must not accept the result of this election and the New Democratic Party will not accept the results of this election.”
Eustace said the NDP will take the necessary legal action.
“Our team has been working almost full time. Right now, we have people in the field dealing with some of these issues. Because it is clear to me today that the ULP did not win the election on Wednesday. And we will be continuing and we are continuing today to do the necessary work and in another 48 hours, we will expect to have some matters before the court.”
Eustace said he is aware that it is the yuletide season and a lot of people would want to turn their minds to Christmas.
“That is understandable. And, I want you to recognise that work is still going on,” he said, adding that he was criticised for not making a statement on Thursday or Friday.
“The day before, I was standing on the steps of the police station in Layou for six and a half hours in front of the crowd of people who were down there” he said, adding that he could not make a statement or walk around and visit his constituency and apologised for it Friday night.
“We are not, under any circumstance, giving in to this particular issue with the election in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I cannot tell you how much time it will take. It is a legal matter. It could be short, and I hope it is short. But we are doing the work, which is necessary for us to form government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines not long from now.”
Eustace said the elections were conducted under circumstances that were illegal, which have undermined the will of the electorate who voted.
“I know that this view is shared by the majority of Vincentians, who are aware of the miserable social and economic conditions in this country under the ULP government,” Eustace said.