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Friday 6 December 2019
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UNC accuses PNM of campaigning in Grande

UNC local government candidate for Sangre Grande South Calvin Seecharan complains about PNM supporters campaigning on election morning in Sangre Grande on Monday. - ANGELO MARCELLE
UNC local government candidate for Sangre Grande South Calvin Seecharan complains about PNM supporters campaigning on election morning in Sangre Grande on Monday. - ANGELO MARCELLE

UNC candidate for Sangre Grande South Calvin Seecharan on Monday accused the PNM of campaigning on election day.

Seecharan made the allegations as he spoke to Newsday in Sangre Grande around 10.30 am.

"We are having some issues in Sangre Grande, where the PNM has people on the ground campaigning as though campaigning is still going on – on election day.

"You have people in Gilkes Street, Walka Street, Co-operative Street campaigning right now."

Seecharan said he made two phone calls to Sangre Grande police about it.

"However, I have not seen any police arrive to see about the situation," he said. "I am now going personally to the police station to make a report about the situation taking place."

When Newsday contacted Seecharan on Monday afternoon, he said the police had said they would look into the situation. But he had been given no further updates.

The Representation of the People Act says in Section 91 (1): "During the hours that the poll is open upon polling day no person shall, in any polling station or upon any road or in any public place within 100 yards of any polling station, seek to influence any elector to vote or to refrain from voting for any candidate or political party or to ascertain for whom any elector intends to vote or has voted."

On Monday's voting process, Seecharan said, "Voting has been going smoothly so far. The people are coming out in their numbers to vote.

"My expectation is that the UNC will win Sangre Grande South and we will retain the Sangre Grande corporation."

At the polling station at North Eastern College, Sangre Grande, two voters were turned away when Newsday visited. The voters, Roseline Marin and Hemmattee Elahie, of Guaico, Sangre Grande, said their names were not on the voters' list.

"I did not get to vote. They tell me I have to go to the EBC (Elections and Boundaries Commission) and explain to them (what happened)," said Marin.

Asked if they were aware of recent changes made by the EBC to boundaries, in some polling divisions, which could have been the reason for the problem, Marin and Elahie said they were not aware. Marin and Elahie both said they voted at the polling station in previous elections.

Elahie was sent to a nearby polling station.

Toco/Sangre Grande MP Glenda Jennings-Smith of the PNM, asked about Monday's voting in the area, said the process was smooth from her perspective.

"We are satisfied with what is happening so far. We have had a fair amount of people coming to vote. We have had, even despite the rainfall in this area, in every polling station an average of 90 and above people, come out to cast their vote," said Jennings-Smith.

First-time voter Mark Harford said he was excited. Asked the significance of voting to him Harford said, "I thought that (voting) will be the best thing to do, given what has been going on in the country, with the crime rate and stuff."

Contacted for comment on Seecharan's accusations, PNM PRO Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing said the claims were unfounded.

"I would say, again, that this is the UNC party engaging in UNC politics."

Lee Sing said she had been in contact with co-ordinator of the PNM's Sangre Grande local government election campaign who said they got no reports of such incidents.

Lee Sing said she believes that members of the PNM know how to conduct themselves.

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