MP for North Leeward, Roland “Patel” Matthews is raising questions about how his contender, Carlos James, was able to transfer his voter registration from West St. George to North Leeward and back again, all in less than six months.
James, the ruling Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) candidate, came 12 votes short of unseating Matthews in the Dec. 9 general elections.
In the lead up to the vote, James, who is originally from Troumaca, made headlines when his voter registration was transferred from West St. George — where he was originally registered as a voter — to North Leeward.
Matthews objected, saying that James did not and had not been living in North Leeward for the required six months that would have allowed him to register as a voter there legally.
Speaking at his New Democratic Party (NDP’s) rally in Layou on the weekend, Matthews noted that James’ name appeared on the voter’s list in North Leeward in 2015.
“… and we know what the is not living in North Leeward, but his name appear to vote,” Matthews said.
“And we made noise right on this platform here in Layou. I told you about it. Lo and behold, on the last election list, Carlos James’ name was removed.
“So, in less than six months, Carlos James was registered to vote in West St. George and in North Leeward. That is a political crime. That is against the Representation of the People Act, but he was allowed to vote. Now, my question is, if Carlos James was allowed to do that to make the electoral process look like a comedy, you could imagine what others do,” Matthews said.
He added: “And they talking about ‘Who thief election?’ The evidence is clear as crystal that this Unity Labour Party government set out to thief the election in 2015 and that is what it seems that they do.”
Electoral officials say the ULP won the election, taking eight of the 15 parliamentary seats, while the remaining seven went to the NDP.
But the NDP is claiming victory and has accused the ULP of stealing the election. The NDP has filed two petitions, challenging the results in Central Leeward and North Windward.
Matthews told the NDP’s “Victory Rally” in Layou, “You could imagine that you have people coming from overseas and are being registered the last day.
“You have justice of the peace who are ULP supporters going to the registration point and illegally sanctioning the registration and transfer of persons illegally,” he said.
He called on supporters of the NDP to stand firm with the party “because it is not over yet.
“We are going to fight the fight. We are going to ensure that the voices of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are heard because we now we were done an injustice,” he said.
The NDP has filed two election petitions, challenging the results in Central Leeward and North Windward.
Matthews said that the ULP targeted North Leeward.
“I believe that of all the consistencies on this side of the island, North Leeward was most targeted. But you come out in your numbers, you vote for NDP and you ensure that the New Democratic party is alive and well in North Leeward.
“I am saying to you, let us keep it that way, because they will continue to try to bribe, to hoodwink and make you believe that they are the better party.”
He had earlier told party supporters that he remains MP for the district “because the good people of North Leeward.
Despite all they tried, all the thieving, all the illegal registration, the Hon. Roland Matthews stands tall,” Matthews said.
“You know they tried everything. They bribe people, they give out galvanise, they give out lumber, cement, money, you name it, but North Leeward [stood] firm.
“And I want to say to the good people of North Leeward, you keep standing firm. You have heard from the party, we have said to you, that we will not be contesting elections with the present electoral officers in charge.”
Matthew said he has “a personal grouse…
“And I want to say to the people of North Leeward that we will not be going into any election with McCarter Gordon as the returning officer in North Leeward…”
He accused the ULP of failing to meet its alleged promises to constituents.
“I want to tell the ULP one thing. All those people who they fool off and tell them bring a picture of how they vote, they still want their money. Because they are waiting, they haven’t got it yet, and they are waiting for their money.”