Former Supervisor of Election, Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb. (iWN photo)

Former Supervisor of Elections says she believes it was her exclusive and sole responsibility to ensure that the ballot boxes used in North Windward in the 2015 election complied with the election law.

She made the statement as she was being cross examined last week in the North hearing of the Windward election petition.

During the cross examination, Keith Scotland, lead counsel for the petitioner, Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste, noted that Findlay-Scrub had given a description of the ballot boxes.

Asked if she would agree that whatever boxes are used would have keys and the plastic boxes did not have keys, Findlay-Scrubb said:

“They didn’t have keys.”

“And are therefore not in compliance with the RPA,” Scotland said, referring to the Representations of the People Act, which governs how elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are to be conducted.

However, Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, lead lawyer for the government in the case, said that is a matter for the court to determine.

One of the plastic ballot boxes used in the 2015 general election. They were also used in the 2009 referendum and the 2010 general election.

But Scotland said that before the court could make a finding of law, there must be a “substrate of facts”.

Acting High Court judge, Justice Stanley John said the question of whether the ballot boxes were in compliance with the law is a matter for the court to determine.

Scotland, however, protested, saying that with a “normal” witness he would say that is the case, but noted that Findlay-Scrubb is the supervisor of elections and in charge of ensuring that the boxes were in compliance with the law.

But the court maintained that Findlay-Scrubb is not allowed to say whether the plastic boxes complied with the RPA.

Justice John said Findlay-Scrubb could answer questions of whether the boxes had plastic ties, or didn’t have keys or lock. He said that whether those facts constitute an infringement of the RPA is a matter for the court.

Scotland then asked Findlay-Scrubb if the responsibility “for ensuring boxes were sibling to RPA” was her responsibility in 2015.

She said she was not sure that she understood the question.  

“The responsibility that the ballot boxes provided in NW 1 were in compliance with RPA, that was your exclusive and sole responsibility,” Scotland then said.

Findlay-Scrubb responded:  “I believe it was.”

Earlier in the trial, the former elections chief said that while plastic ballot boxes have been used since 2009, the election law intended for wooden boxes that must be opened with a key.   

A ruling in the case is slated for March 21.

3 replies on “PETITIONS TRIAL: Former election chief believes ensuring ballot compliance was her job”

  1. The ruling on this matter would be most interesting. I just wonder if it is not tht we have moved with the times and like so many other countries have moved to using plastic boxed with ties instead of wooden boxes with padlocks as stipulated in law but have not seen it fit to change the laws to reflect this modern approach..

  2. The task of the court is also to determine whether the spirit of law — which may not always be in accord with the letter of the law — was followed when it comes to changing technology. This has long been recognized in jurisprudence and why constitutions are often referred to as living documents since they are subject to different interpretations at different historical moments.

    If the boxes evoke more than passing attention in Judge John’s verdict, I would be surprised if only becasue such boxes are the norm around the world in countries which still mention wooden boxes with locks and keys in their electoral laws which is now interpreted by the courts as a metaphor for “secure boxes.”

  3. Changes to Election law every priority

    I do hope in next Congress (When the House meet again , or Parliament which ever word we use the Election law s and procedures be on the table. Wooden box, plastic box, . The groomer Supervisor paraphrase (No one objected) does not change the laws, silent does not gave you the right to violate the laws.
    Did the supervisor bring the political party in SVG and show the boxes and have discussed with them the changes ,did they agree with you to use them , did you documented and they sign off.?
    If the answer is no then the law is broken and you is responsible. No getting around this.

    The call should be for New Election because the law was not follow. The law is the law

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