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Friday 6 December 2019
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Kamla: Irregularities on election day

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar cast her vote at Hermitage Presbyterian school in the local government elections.  - Lincoln Holder
Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar cast her vote at Hermitage Presbyterian school in the local government elections. - Lincoln Holder

UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said several of the party’s stronghold electoral districts have been converted into marginal districts as a result of boundary changes.

She was speaking to reporters after voting at the Hermitage Presbyterian primary school at 11.30 am on Monday.

In a statement issued afterward, Persad-Bissessar said the party was: “alarmed over reports of irregularities and issues with the voting process.”

She said there were several examples in which EBC officials have “not been consistent in their application of the law,” saying while over 130 returning officers allowed people wearing green T-shirts to access the polling station as polling agents, in at least two separate reported instances, the UNC’s polling agents were “prohibited because the returning officer felt that the green colour was too close to yellow.”

The incidents occurred in the Sangre Grande and in Diego Martin Regional Corporation areas.

“Our attorneys and co-ordinators were forced to step in to resolve the matter," she said. Persad-Bissessar said there were multiple instances in which polling agents scheduled to work at polling stations were reportedly approached by people representing another political party and “offered inducements to stand down.”

However, she said: "I am pleased to advise that our polling agents remain committed and have turned out to work today.”

She said the party had also received reports of a PNM candidate blocking voters from exercising their democratic rights, and this had been reported to the police.

“This is cause for alarm, and we will monitor closely.”

The election campaign had been "fraught with issues," she said, "and the PNM has used every tactic to try to deflect attention from their own inability to govern our country. After four years – now into their fifth year – they have not a single achievement to speak about.

“On the boundary changes in several districts," she said one, La Romaine, had been transformed from a UNC stronghold to a marginal one.

“The seat that will be a challenge is the new seat created, which is La Romaine. Because of the change of boundaries that seat has become a very marginal seat. But we trust our candidate will do well.”

She said the same thing had been done in the case of one seat in the Siparia Corporation and in the San Juan/Laventille area.

"So there were some boundary changes which will clearly work against us. But at the end of the day, the people will decide,” she concluded.

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