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OAS final report

The Organisation of American States (OAS) team that observed the December 2015 general election in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) did not say that there was no election fraud.

This one of the points that Leader of the Opposition and President of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Arnhim Eustace attempted to drive home in an address to the nation on radio on Wednesday.

The NDP is challenging the results of the elections and has filed petitions asking the court to overturn the results in Central Leeward and North Windward by declaring the NDP’s candidates winners or order fresh elections in those districts.

Electoral officials have declared the Unity Labour Party winners of those seats and the general election by a one-seat majority in the 15-member Parliament.

Eustace said that the OAS observers who attended the final count in Central Leeward on Dec. 10 constituted a neutral third party.

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In its final report released on Friday, the OAS said that in Central Leeward, its team observed incorrect application of seals on several ballot boxes, the absence of presiding officer’s stamp and initials on some ballots, and said the presiding officer, Winston Gaymes, had a clear bias towards the ULP.

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace. (IWN photo)
Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace. (IWN file photo)

The OAS, however, said that notwithstanding these “the OAS Observers did not discern any fraudulent or other activities at the Final Count which could have materially affected the outcome of the vote in which the ULP candidate won by 313 votes.”

Some supporters of the government’s position that nothing untoward took place in the election, have taken this to mean that the NDP is making much of nothing.

But Eustace rebutted that point in his address yesterday, and asked listeners to consider the language used by the OA.

“The fact that the OAS did not “discern” fraudulent activities means just that. It does not mean there was no fraud. The OAS has spoken to what it did in fact observe, and correctly so,” Eustace said.

“Do the disquieting activities observed by them affect the numerical result, and is that relevant? That is strictly a matter for the court to interpret on a qualitative and/or quantitative basis, using applicable legal principles. The OAS has, without doubt, pronounced sufficiently upon the illegal issues that plagued the conduct of the Central Leeward election.”

Eustace said that the case Gunn v Sharpe is among the authorities by which the court, on hearing the petitions, will be guided.

“It makes clear that dismissing the disenfranchisement of 321 voters, in other words, voters effectively losing their say in the election, is no small matter. In that case far less voters (98) in a larger constituency were disenfranchised. The court held that the election was void.

“How the election is conducted is as important as the outcome. It necessarily impacts the outcome,” Eustace said.

He said the the OAS report corroborates and therefore vindicates the affidavit evidence of the NDP’s Central Leeward candidate, Ben Exeter. and his representative with respect to the improper sealing of ballot boxes, the objections to mutilated ballots, and “the demonstrated impartiality” of Gaymes in the exercise of his duties.

“The point is to be made here that the OAS was made aware by us through our contact with them about testifying, what our contentions were in the petition. And they treated specifically with precisely those concerns as raised by us. Our contact with the OAS was made a part of the public record in the affidavit of Senator Shirlan “Zita” Barnwell. While they are protected from participating in proceedings by certain immunities granted them by the Government, they have sufficiently addressed our concerns in their final report,” Eustace said.

Eustace also announced that lawyers for the NDP will ask the Director of Public Prosecutions for fiats to file private criminal complaints against certain electoral official, but did not name them.

Central Leeward returning officer was bias towards ULP — OAS

4 replies on “OAS didn’t say there was no election fraud — Eustace”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    An illogical reading of the report. “There is no evidence that you did X; therefore you may still have done X.”

    This is very close to the view of NDP leaders that the ULP can’t prove that they didn’t steal
    the election.

    Not to worry, logic is not our strong suit as a people which is why we elect these cretins to begin with.

  2. The OAS statement is like going to a forest seeing a fallen tree and saying they have no evidence the tree fell because they did not see it fall.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      I really didn’t think I would read something even more illogical than Eustace’s interpretation of the OAS report.

      What the Report actually said is that while they found a fallen tree (election irregularities), this did not destroy the forest (negate the results of the election).

      Lostpet, I know from your writings that you can think more clearly than this, so please just do so.

      1. Brown Boy USA says:

        How about the possibility that some disease or entity could have caused the tree fall and such disease or entity could potentially spread to other trees causing them to fall as well, and this in time could potentially cause many other trees to fall thus destroying the entire forest?

        I guess there’s no logics here.

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