A former MP under the New Democratic Party (NDP) has identified what he portrayed as a potential conflict of interest in the head of the Organization of American States (OAS) mission that observed the Dec. 9 general elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

John Horne, a former MP for West Kingstown, noted that the head of the OAS mission, Ambassador Jacinth Henry-Martin, was a former member of the Denzil Douglas administration in St. Kitts and Nevis, against which the NDP provided a platform in the lead up to that federation’s elections earlier this year.

Henry-Martin, who became chief of staff at the OAS in May, was an elected parliamentarian and minister of government in St. Kitts and Nevis from March 2000 to October 2004, under the Douglas administration.

Her profile on Linkedin, a professional networking website, says he was also an ambassador for the Douglas administration between January 2005 and May 2015, when she joined the OAS.

The OAS Observer Mission composed of 13 observers from 10 countries.

Electoral officials say the vote was won by the incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP), which captured eight of the 15 seats, while the remaining seven went to the NDP — a repeat of the 2010 election results.

NDP leader Arnhim Eustace, citing irregularities, especially in Central Leeward, is claiming that it is the legitimately elected government, adding that the party will go to court over the results.

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Observers from the OAS, CARICOM and the Commonwealth monitored the elections.

The OAS in its preliminary statement on Thursday urged that “the established electoral procedures be utilized to address any differences or disputes that may arise”.

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The Commonwealth Election Observer Team, in a statement on Saturday, said:

“Based on our observation and exchanges with a broad range of stakeholders since our arrival, our preliminary conclusion is that the elections were generally peaceful and relatively well conducted. The shortfalls observed to date by members of the Team are not significant enough to put in question the credibility of the outcome.

“As of today 12 December 2015, we have heard allegations of serious irregularities from one political party. We call upon those making these claims to file formal complaints as prescribed in the electoral laws, and for the relevant institutions to investigate and pronounce on these allegations.”

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Speaking from the floor at an NDP media event on Saturday, Horne said:

“I have one question to ask the OAS. What was the basis on which you selected the leader of this delegation this time? They should have been sensitive enough and aware enough to know that Mr. Eustace and the NDP gave a platform to the new prime minister of St. Kitts [Timothy Harris] to air his views to be heard by the world when Denzil Douglas was refusing to call the Parliament.”

Former West Kingstown MP, John Horne addresses the NDP event on Saturday. (IWN photo)
Former West Kingstown MP, John Horne addresses the NDP event on Saturday. (IWN photo)

The NDP had Timothy Harris in SVG at a time when he and other opposition MPs in St. Kitts had failed to get the parliament there to debate a no-confidence motion at a time when Douglas had lost support of the majority of MPs.

Horne said he understands that Henry-Martin was a part of the Douglas government.

“I know that on the one hand you can say people have the right to be independent and to be independent-thinking. But that was a particularly sensitive situation involving our opposition who gave voice to the now new government in St. Kitts against the victimisation and wickedness of the previous Denzil Douglas government, so you should have been smart enough and sensitive enough not to ruffle feathers.”

Horne applauded Eustace on his stance, saying, “I agree, do not go into Parliament, one. And, two, stand firm continue to rally with your people, our people who would be there to support us through thick and thin, as they did on the 9th of December 2015.”

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Speaking earlier, Eustace told party supporters and the media that election observers come to SVG “too late to make any meaningful decision”.

He said he has a very serious problem with that and communicated it to the Commonwealth observers.

“When all of the work is going on, when people are being registered who should not be registered in particular constituencies, they are not here, and, therefore, they are often not in a position to really observer — that’s the word they use, ‘in-depth’, and therefore really make decisions.

“I had the same problem before in 2010. Often they make decisions, which we don’t agree with.”

He said all the observers went into the counting room in Central Leeward.

“All of them know about the conditions that were faced in that room. If they say otherwise, then that’s a matter for then,” he said.

Of the pronouncements of the election observer missions, Eustace said: “CARICOM will say, it is free and fair, the OAS can say it was free and fair. We in the New Democratic Party say it was not free and it was not fair. And at least I have been in contact already with three OECS prime ministers on the matter of this election.”

Lawyer Sharon Cummings speaking at Saturday's event. (IWN photo)
Lawyer Sharon Cummings speaking at Saturday’s event. (IWN photo)

Sharon Cummings, a lawyer for the NDP, told the event that the OAS observer mission was in Layou where the final count took place on Thursday.

“And, the objections we were making, at times we turned to them and explained to them why we were saying that. But, we made our objections in sight and hearing of the observers, both CARICOM and the OAS.

“I mean, we will not be responsible for what they report, but, certainly, in a particular matter, I took the time to explain to Mr. Gaymes (the returning officer) why I was asking him for a certain document and I spoke out loudly for the observers to hear why I was asking for a certain document. And he refused to give it to me — in earshot of the observers who were there,” said Cummings, who is wife of Daniel Cummings, an NDP candidate who officials have declared winner of the West Kingstown seat — for a second consecutive term.

20 replies on “OAS should’ve sent different election observer head — John Horne”

    1. Of course they wanted to win you silly boy. But they expected to win fairly without the other side carrying out the greatest election fraud in the Caribbean ever.

  1. Jeannine James says:

    They came, they saw, they conquered. They did what they were supposed to do.

    In recent years, I’ve had limited opportunity, mainly in social settings where progress and anniversaries within island states were being feted, to interact and exchange with Caribbean “politicorrati” from a few locales. At points on these exchanges, the discourse would settle on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, given my own coordinates. All I can say for now with conviction is that the trance extends outside of SVG. I also suspect that I might understand it but it will take more introspection and perhaps compassion, even at the personal level, to go further on this one in a serious way. My stocks of compassion need replenishing right at this moment; they are at a low ebb.

    Straight up piece from a position of knowing, John Horne!

  2. In our little Caribbean civilization, every high ranking person can be found to be in conflict of interest on some matter or the other.

    I ask again, is the goal of the NDP to make the country ungovernable as the ULP did in 2000?

    The names of the parties may be different but their behaviour and goal — to gain and maintain power by any means necessary — is all the same.

    1. Mr. Ben-David, you probably is not on the ground, you are probably putting food on your table and sending your children to school somewhere in North America. You only hear, you don’t go into the villages, the highways and byways in SVG, if you have some sense, this demonstration is for justice of the masses of SVG, democracy has been stolen from them. What happened in 2000 is far different to what is happening now, back the it was more like communistic activities. Mr. Ben, you know the facts, don’t be ignorant.

      1. I am a proud old Vincentian right here on the ground in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I speak to NDP supporters every day on the street and hear them mindlessly repeating the unsubstantiated “tief election” mantra. When I challenge them, they only present hearsay, demsay, and commess.

        Yes, I am not dependent, thank God, on Vincie political decisions and changes in government for my daily bread nor any longer possessed of any property here which can be damaged or confiscated.

        I am therefore a free man who can objectively look at and analyze the facts.

        Nor am I a member or supporter of any Vincentian political party, once more making me free to present unbiased opinions.

        Yes, my principal residence is overseas which once more allows me to be objective while giving me the ability to flee at a moment’s notice if I become victimized for my views.

        So, rightly or wrongly, these are my sincerely held views based on first hand observation and analysis.

        What about you?

  3. Sounds like Ralph did his homework. Even the Election observers here were very close to Ralph Gonsalves. Now I see why Ralph was so angry that the NDP brought lawyers from Trinidad to observe the vote. Ralph had gone to great lengths to insure that all other observers were pro-ULP.
    I am really sick of the corruption here in the Caribbean, it is especially corrupt here in SVG. May god have mercy on this blessed land and cast out these devils! I am beginning to believe Ralph is Satan, come back as a snake to deceive the people into their own demise.

    1. Jeannine James says:

      No wonder real shit can’t get done in SVG and no wonder whatever does get done is done ineptly. If an autocratic leader has to be constantly studying how to score on trickery and how to peddle his optics and attributes among the weak-minded, what else could be the outcome? Really now….

  4. It looks like Ralph got together with these observers (which were, based on evidence, his supporters) and conspired to “look the other way” when undeniable evidence existed to indicate that the election process was certainly tainted.
    What has become of us when we accept blatant obvious corruption right before our eyes!!!

    1. Jeannine James says:

      They probably didn’T even need to look the other way. Sounds like all they had to do was to look straight ahead.

      I hope they enjoyed themselves whilst in SVG and that they didn’t arrive with the report already prepared and resting in a handbag. Worse yet, the report might’ve been handed to them upon arrival. Sweet.

  5. Jeannine James says:

    Just love to watch the sidewinders operate. Love it when they slink away from the now and press their backs against the far barricades in passive support of wrongdoing whilst hoping to avoid detection. Cha!

  6. Something rotten in SVG. If it smells like fraud it must be fraud when the numbers don’t add up. Was Acorn in SVG?

  7. I really can’t believe what I just read. Are you seriously suggesting that the Prime Minister selected the persons comprising of all the Observer Missions. So let me get this straight your allegation is that the Prime Minister conspired with OAS, Caricom and the Commonwealth Secretariat to send teams which will overlooked ‘irregularities’ and declare the elections results as valid. I have never heard such nonsense. Next you will be saying that he ULP kidnapped all the NDP officials who were at the polling stations before and during the election, imprisoned them in a fortress in Antarctica and replaced them with Russian agents who have undergone extensive plastic surgery. So none of the ‘irregularities’ could be mentioned until after the results were announced. I don’t know what films you have been watching but you really need to start distinguishing fantasy from reality.

  8. Can an election official just hand over a document to anyone who demands it? What kind of goat skin lawyer is this lady? There is a process and let it play out. Let me make a prediction. 53% of the people will still not want these losers to run the country and in 2020 if they bring this same tired bunch led by Eustace it will be 5 in a row

    1. Jeannine James says:

      Bro, for my part, whatever voting Vincentians say is the problem is the problem, even if it turns out to be the lawyer wife of MP Daniel Cummings. They have their destiny locked down just like how they love it. The choice is theirs. If genius is objectionable, I humbly defer. But you might have to accept that a country that has been simmering in an education revolution for quite a while ought to easily produce a genius or two. Confidence might be a reasonable substitute for genius? ?

      1. …”whatever voting Vincentians say is the problem is the problem, even if it turns out to be the lawyer wife of MP Daniel Cummings”.

        Well, there you have it. Problem solved.
        52% of “Voting Vincentians” say… ULP elected, and NDP rejected.
        All that follows is pointless.

  9. Thank you. Effective communication 101 says make your point with the least amount of words; do not plagiarizing someone’s poetry and put little personal twist on it to sound all intelligent. In fact it has the opposite result.

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