Former Supervisor of Election, Sylvia Findlay-SCrubb, left, and presiding officer NWI, Veronica John. (iWN Photo)

Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb, who was Supervisor of Elections during the December 2015 poll, says she never knew until the election petitions were filed, that there was a claim that there were 39 excess counterfoils at polling station NWI, in North Windward.

Agents for the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), whose candidate, Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste has brought the petition, had complained that there were 366 ballots but 405 counterfoils.

However, on Monday, during her cross examination by Keith Scotland, Baptiste’s lead counsel, the former elections chief said she made no enquires about what allegedly transpired.

She agreed with the lawyer that the tally of the counterfoil and ballots, used or unused, should reconcile, because counterfoils come from ballots.

Findlay-Scrubb, who retired from the elections chief post last year April, was asked if, in layman’s terms, the practical effect of having 39 excess counterfoils means there were 39 ballots unaccounted for.

She said: “If, in fact, that did happen.”

The former elections chief said that if such an issue had arisen, it “would have been dealt with” at the preliminary count.

Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb said that if in the initial stage, there were 39 counterfoils in excess, that had to be reconciled in the presence of the returning officer.

The petitioner has alleged that contrary to the provision of Rule 14 of the House of Assembly Rules, no Form 16 statement of poll was presented at the final count.

Findlay-Scrubb told the court that in the process of disclosure, she did not disclose Form 16 statements of poll for any of the polling stations in North Windward.

“No, there is no reason I did deliberately not do that,” she said in response to Scotland’s question.  

“So there is no reason you can advance in face of specific pleading why you have not shown Form 16, you can’t give any reason?” Scotland asked and Findlay-Scrubb said as if she was thinking.

“Madam, you are looking for a reason?” the lawyer asked

“No I am trying to recollect,” she responded.

Findlay-Scrubb had the petitioner’s pleading since Dec. 31, 2015 and signed her witness statement on June 7, 2018.

“You had a three-year period to look at the pleading and say, ‘Court, I am assisting you. Here are the Form 16s. Why didn’t you present, disclose, exhibit these Form 16s?” Scotland said.

“I would say it is a matter that just escaped my attention at the time and that’s it,” Findlay-Scrubb said.

The former election chief said she knows that the rules mandate that the presiding officer complete the Form 16s.

She further told the court she knows that if a presiding officer omits to enclose the Form 16, she is empowered to impose sanctions — take away part of his or her salary.

Findlay-Scrubb told the court of the importance of the Form 16.

“The statement of poll is, at it were, [an] audit, accounting for all of the ballots received by the presiding officer. It is the presiding officer accounting for all of the papers received from the Supervisor of Elections.”

The court has said that a ruling in the case could come by the end of March.

5 replies on “PETITIONS TRIAL: Poll worker didn’t report excess counterfoil claim to election chief”

  1. Even if the 39 allegedly “missing” ballots were votes that went to the NDP, they would not have made any difference in the outcome because the ULP candidate received 2,390 votes while the NDP candidate received 2,713 votes, a difference of 323 votes.

    No Caribbean judge would overthrow the results of an election on such grounds unless it could be proven conclusively that the difference between the ballots and counterfoils was because of a deliberate attempt by the ULP to steal the election.

    No Caribbean election has ever been overthrown on grounds like this.

    Both sides know this which is why this whole exercise has been a charade since the hapless NDP refused to concede defeat on election night in 2015.

    The good people of SVG have been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of scarce resources that could have been better spent buying equipment or medicine for the hospital on a fruitless excercise that has placed our whole electoral system in disrepute.

    1. Maybe so, but what about all the other inconsistencies? If this WRONG bit does not make a difference, and that WRONG bit does not make a difference, along with this and that inconsistency, after just a combination of a few of them….SURPRISE! you have stolen an election!
      There are too many inconsistencies. Do we want to set a precedent and say: “oh well, don’t worry be happy.” We didn’t cheat, we are just totally incompetent”. How did there come to be more counterfoils in the first place? What does that tell you?

    2. Oh, you really care about the people of SVG. An attempt to cheat on an election with “magic” counterfoils is nothing. What else happened that did not get caught, afterall THE VOTES IN THE BOXES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE INSPECTED, NOT EVEN BY INSPECTORS FROM OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY!!! You must have seen many elections throughout the Caribbean to say “No Caribbean judge…” Well maybe you should tell us how many inconsistencies would be allowed before a judge would allow the votes in the boxes to be inspected, AS THEY HAVE DONE IN MANY OTHER COUNTRIES! A great expert like you should know how many inconsistencies are allowed before an election result would be considered null and void. Because you care so much about the people of SVG and Medical Supplies. Tell us what it would take to get an election overturned so that we could get a government that would have enough Tetanus Immunizations for the people?

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