DECISION PENDING red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) is still awaiting a decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding bringing a private criminal charge against an election official in Central Leeward.

Lawyers for the NDP have applied to Colin Williams for a fiat to allow them to bring private criminal charges against Winston Gaymes, the returning officer for Central Leeward.

The opposition says that Gaymes broke the election law in his conduct of his duties during the Dec. 9, 2015 election.

In giving an update on the NDP’s efforts to secure the fiat, lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste told the media last week that she wrote to the DPP on June 26 requesting a fiat to institute private criminal complaints against Winston Gaymes.

“In this constituency, Mr. Winston Gaymes counted votes which, clearly, are not valid, according to the law, in that there was no official mark on the ballots,” Bacchus-Baptiste told reporters at a press conference in Layou.

“The law says that any election officer who wilfully counts any ballot paper as being cast for any candidate which he knows or has reasonable cause to believe was not validly cast for such a candidate is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for two years,” she said.

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She pointed out that Gaymes swore to an affidavit filed as evidence in defence against a case that the NDP brought against election officials, that he knew that the ballots were not validly cast.

“He knew that they did not have the official mark, but yet he decided to count them. That’s a clear breach of the law…” Bacchus-Baptiste said.

She said she and the DPP exchanged letters in July.

He again wrote to her on Aug. 10.
“He asked for more information, which I responded to and then, finally on Oct. 5, he wrote saying, “There is a particular matter that I need counsel’s assistance with in evaluating and assessing this matter,” Bacchus-Baptiste told reported.

Bacchus-Baptiste said the DPP referred to section 40(f) of the Representation of the People Act, saying he would be “grateful if you can indicate just what is the mischief that you think this session is intended to cure. Also, would you say that a person in committing and offence in breach of this section would have acted (a) fraudulently, (b) corruptly, or, (c) both fraudulently and corruptly or (d) in some other manner other than corruptly or fraudulently.”

Bacchus-Baptiste said she responded on Oct. 18, saying that rule 41(a) stipulates that any ballot paper which does not bear the official mark shall, subject to that rule, be void and not counted.

She wrote: “I am of the definite opinion that that is the mischief which section 40(f) of the RPA is intended to cure. If the legislation intended to add the mens rea, fraudulently or corruptly, or fraudulently and corruptly, the legislation would have said so clearly. The manner stipulated by the legislation is wilfully. I am of the opinion that this provision covers negligence and recklessness or the ordinary dictionary meaning of the words ‘done deliberately or intentionally’.”

Bacchus-Baptiste referred to paragraph 16 of Gaymes’ affidavit filed in the other election matter, in which he said he was minded to reject the ballot.

She further wrote:

“This makes it clear that Mr. Gaymes deliberately and wilfully decided to count votes that he knew did not bear the official mark. Please issue the fiat.”

The lawyer said she is awaiting the DPP’s response.

2 replies on “No decision yet on opposition’s request to sue election official”

  1. I know Winston Gaymes. Winston Gaymes is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and doesn’t have the brains to commit such fraud or be so corrupt, both of which necessitate a level of malice aforethought he is not capable of.

    What Gaymes is guilty of in the first degree is stupidity in allowing Ben Exeter to hound him into counting rejected ballots.

    Remember his words? “What’s good for the goose [Straker] is good for the gander [Exeter].

    I rest my case.

    1. Rest my Case, rest my arse.

      What Games did was illegal. He had no right whatsoever to do what he did even if the whole citizenship of SVG agreed with what he did.

      It is not a decision any one can make there are laws and constitutional rules that regulate that. It is a decision Games cannot make even if supported by the Candidate/s. Talking about a goose and gander or even whole flocks of geese is irrelevant in the scheme of legalities.

      What David is asking is that the court takes into consideration that Games is an idiot. That may or may not be so. But he swore an affidavit most likely with his lawyer who we must assume is not stupid even if Games is. It is that which is being used against him because he made a sworn statement to the court which the court assumed is true and relied on. If it is untrue then he must have committed a further offence with the help of his lawyer.

      If what you state is true and Games is stupid how on earth is he being employed as a Returning Officer, which is a position for intelligent people not idiots or stupid people.

      I think Games may be a meek man but he is far from being an idiot or stupid. We must not confuse meekness and lack of personality as stupidity.

      There you are David no slagging you off, comments about what you wrote only. No attack on the messenger as you like to say.

      As promised Kenton i am trying.

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