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.

The ballot boxes used in the December 2015 general elections feature in the appeal that the two petitioners have filed against the decision of the High Court to dismiss the petitions.

In a March 21 ruling, acting High Court Judge, Stanley John dismissed the petitions filed by Benjamin “Ben” Exeter and Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste of the main opposition New Democratic Party challenging the election of Sir Louis Straker and Montgomery Daniel of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) as the parliamentary representatives for Central Leeward and the Northern Grenadines.

The ballot boxes used in the election formed a major plank of both petitions as plastic ballot boxes, without locks and keys were used.

Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb, who was supervisor of elections at the time of the vote, testified during the trial that the law had envisaged the use of wooden ballot boxes with lock and keys, rather than the plastic ones with tie straps used in the poll.

However, Justice John ruled that it was too late to complain about the plastic ballot boxes and further ruled that except for bias on the part of Winston Gaymes, the returning officer for Central Leeward, he had found no evidence in support of the petitioners’ cases.

However in a petition filed on April 30, Exeter’s lawyers argue that Justice John erred in law and fact by holding that the elections were conducted in substantial compliance with election law, in spite of the pleaded and established defects with respect to the ballot boxes.

Exeter’s lawyers argue that some of the ballot boxes used in Central Leeward were never sealed with the plastic zip ties on the top flap but rather only four zip ties were affixed, one at each of the four sides of the ballot boxes.

They said that all of the ballot boxes were in fact plastic bins with completely detachable covers and there were no hinges affixing the covers to the ballot boxes.

The appeal says that the judge ruled as he did although none of the ballot boxes carried locks and could not be locked with a key and there was a large slot at the top of all ballot boxes which could admit several ballots papers at once instead of a slot which can admit no more than one ballot at a time, thereby compromising the integrity of the ballot boxes and the elections.

“There was no transparency regarding the serial number of plastic ties issued to the presiding officers and no serial numbers of plastic ties were recorded after alleged sealing; all plastic ties could be easily cut off and replaced and because the serial numbers were not recorded it would be untraceable,” he appeal said.

It further stated that none of the boxes was labelled and sealed with paper seals that could not be tampered without leaving a trail.

“Instead, a plastic adhesive label was placed on part of the top of the boxes which could not admit proper signatures of agents and officials and which could be peeled off and replaced and/ or re-applied easily without leaving a trace, thereby compromising the integrity of the entire elections”.

In the case of the North Windward petition, Baptiste’s lawyers raised points similar to those of Exeter.

In holding that the elections were conducted in substantial compliance with election law, the learned judge plainly erred in fact and law relative to his evaluation of the pleaded and established defects with respect to the ballot boxes as follows:

They further added that one ballot box — used at NWD — was never sealed at all and when questioned, the Returning Officer, Ville Davis, said the official did not know what she was doing and he was in a rush so he took the box unsealed.

In the appeal, Baptiste’s lawyer further argued that Justice John had ruled as he did although one of the ballot boxes used in North Windward could not be sealed on top at all because the place to put the plastic seal was broken.

10 replies on “Ballot boxes feature in petitions appeals”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Even if all these allegations are true, they do prove that any wrongdoing was committed such that the wrong candidate won the election which is the burden of proof demanded by the Representation of the the People Act which governs the conduct of these elections.

    1. David, when you drive the wrong way up a one-way street but do not cause an accident you are still liable to be prosecuted for driving the wrong way up a one way street.

      But you may have had an accident but no one saw you, the offense is driving the wrong way up a one way street.

      1. Jolly Green. You are right. Brilliant as usual! Too bad that AL is,… well…just not quite there, and does not quite understand things most of the time. C. Ben, although very good on some topics, sees things through tinted glasses of his own choice on many other topics such as crime, politics, economics.
        I wonder if an appeals court will say that it is fine to disobey the laws if it possibly could have swayed the election, but we can’t tell, so… we will do nothing about it. Of course this sets a precedent that an intelligent court will not want to set. Let us see if the appeals court allows it.

  2. HELLO AGAIN………..Appeals court DO NOT RETRY CASES OR EVIDENCE ……..unless its new evidence that MAY HAVE change the results of the ruling

    WASTE OF TIME , MONEY AND JUDICIAL RESOURCES .

    1. C ben-David says:

      Actually, the reverse is true: appeal courts are courts that deal with errors in law in some original decision.

      All around the world, appeals are decided normally by panels of three judges. A court of appeals does not receive additional or new evidence, or hear witnesses; rather the judges make their decision based on the written record of the case in the trial court, the briefs submitted by the parties based on existing evidence, and possibly oral argument.

      AL, you are wrong again, as usual. LOL.

      1. LOL @Ben ……..if you actually take the time to read and understand my comment you will actually learn something Ben LOL………..I never said you will submit new evidence to the appeals court , but one can use the grounds for an appeal , for e,g. if something was left out but recently discovered or by error of the court . and even incompetence of an attorney .
        class dismissed !!!! LMAO

  3. AL, your comments are very silly again. The appeals court reviews what happened in prior proceedings for any errors of law resulting in a wrong decision. Did the judge err when he came to his conclusions?

    The Court of Appeal does not re-try cases. Rather, the Court of Appeal reviews the record to determine whether errors of law or fact were made in a decision.

    1. SO WHAT DID I SAY ………..OBVIOUSLY THERE MOST BE A PROCEDURAL ERROR NOT ANY ERROR ‘
      JOLLY MY FRIEND TRY AGAIN …….READ WITH UNDERSTANDING , DONT BE POLITICALLY BLIND ALL TIMES

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