POLITICAL activist Devant Maharaj has asked Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to investigate a People’s National Movement (PNM) press advertisement that Maharaj alleged was purporting to be a legal notice, but which he said might breach election laws.
The notice on Thursday had alleged Padarath was not validly nominated and any votes for him would be thrown away, a claim firmly denied by him and by attorney Israel Khan in a letter to the editor.
Maharaj sent media houses a copy of a letter he had sent to Griffith. “The intent of the makers of this document is to clothe a false statement with the appearance of legal effect as it suggests that it emanates from the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC),” Maharaj indicated.
“Checks have revealed that it does not conform to any of the forms that are required for use under the Representation of the People Act. It is therefore a fabricated and false document that has been deliberately published to mislead voters in Princes Town.”
Maharaj alleged the notice was the deliberate publication of a false statement and breached the Representation of the People Act Chap ( Section 74 (1)) which bans anyone making any false statement of fact in relation to the personal character or conduct of the candidate.
Newsday sought a response from Avinash Singh whose Facebook page featured the notice and who is the campaign manager for Padarath’s PNM rival Sharon Baboolal whose signature was purportedly one of four on the notice.
“The document clearly carries the signatures of the candidate and electors and not that of the EBC. It is not headed EBC. Further, it carries the name of the publisher as required by law on the bottom of the notice,” Singh said in a text message to Newsday.
“Finally, it follows precisely the model of notices in election petition authorities where there is a nomination under challenge and therefore a claim is to be made that votes have been wasted.”