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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
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That is what the testimony of Ville Davis, the returning officer in that constituency in the 2015 election, suggested during the election petition trial.

The returning officer, Ville Davis, told the election court on Tuesday that he and other election personnel were still conducting the final count in North Windward up to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2015.

This suggests that with the final count there yet to be completed, the main political parties in the country — Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party, and the New Democratic Party — had seven confirmed seats each.

Gonsalves was sworn in around 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 to a fourth consecutive term as prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Gonsalves was sworn in five hours later than planned because opposition protest along the road to Government House forced the delay.

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On Tuesday, during the trial of the petitions, Davis was cross examined by Keith Scotland, lead counsel for Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste, the petitioner.

Scotland noted that Cheryl Sutherland, a teacher, of Sandy Bay, was asked as an independent observer to witness the final count.

Sutherland testified on behalf of the opposition last week Thursday, Feb, 14, after being summoned to court. 

iWitness News understands that she told the opposition’s legal team that she preferred to be summoned to appear in the matter because she did not want to appear to have left her job to testify against her employer. 

She told the court that on Dec. 10, 2015, the day after the election, Grady King, an electoral worker, came to her house and asked her to witness the final count of ballots cast in North Windward.

Sutherland said she got to the Sandy Bay Police Station, where the count was being conducted, sometime between 8:30 to 9 a.m. and stayed there until around 1:30 to 2 p.m., when the exercise was completed. 

She said that during that time, Davis did not engage in a count of the individual ballots and counterfoils.

However, in his witness statement, Davis said: “I spent all day into night counting ballots.

Reading the witness statement, Scotland further said: “We counted each ballot individually.” 

He commented: “I guess it is ‘we’, it is no longer ‘I’.” 

He was referring to changes Davis made to his witness statement just before he was cross examined.

Davis said Sutherland arrived after the final count had begun but she stayed at the polling station until the count ended.

He put the time at 8:30 p.m. and not 2 p.m., as Sutherland told the court. 

He said that about 2:30 p.m. they had a break and he brought drinks for everybody, then they continued counting the votes until 8:30 p.m.

According to the official results of the election, the ULP’s Montgomery Daniel defeated Baptiste, by 2,713 votes to 2,390. The Green Party got 5 votes and the Democratic Republican Party 15.

Baptiste is challenging Daniel’s announced victory and fourth consecutive term in office as Member of Parliament for North Windward.

The court will hand down, on March 21, a verdict in that petition as well as the one the NDP has brought challenging the election results in Central Leeward.