Last update: 13-Dec-2013 2:53 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Pt Fortin PNM candidate: Voting delay makes for easier victory
People’s National Movement candidate for Techier Village/Guapo in Point Fortin, Sherwin St Hillaire, believes the postponement of Monday’s voting in his district favoured the PNM. Speaking near the Point Fortin RC School yesterday, St Hillaire said people who had initially chosen to vote for another party on Monday had reverted to the PNM because of Monday night’s results.
His comments followed claims by the MSJ that the suspension of Monday’s voting could have led to the manipulation of the results, as parties could have brought out additional voters to boost their chances. Despite this, St Hillaire said, the PNM was always going to make a clean sweep in Point Fortin and the delay had only increased the margin of victory. “This is again based on some of the communication this morning from people who came from casting their votes,” he said.
“Those who may have considered an alternative than the PNM indicated that they had switched back, and those who may have been disenchanted for whatever reason and were undecided on voting decided this time they were going to ensure that they were going to vote.”
On Monday, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) suspended voting at the Guapo Government Primary School in the Techier Village/Guapo district and the Point Fortin RC School in the Newlands/Mahaica district, where the wrong ballot papers had been sent to the polling stations. The EBC issued an advisory, alerting voters that the affected polling stations would be reopened yesterday morning. The EBC’s chief election officer Ramesh Nanan said yesterday voting ran smoothly.
“Things are running smoothly as far as the information that has come to me. Around 11 am in 4696 (Techier Village/Guapo), 73 people had voted and around the same time, at 4730 (Newlands/Mahaica) 66 people had voted,” Nanan said. He said given the short space of time, the EBC did all it could to alert electors that the polls would be reopened.
St Hilaire said after Monday’s tally, he was already leading in his district, with over 500 votes, and believed yesterday voting would have given the PNM a greater proportional victory. Although admitting that yesterday’s voter turnout was lower than Monday, Point Fortin mayor Clyde Paul said the borough remained and will continue to be a PNM stronghold. “My people were on the scene out there and they have said so,” Paul said. “From our exit polls in those two stations up to the time they closed, we were leading, we were ahead.
“In fact, 4696 polling station in the Guapo area is the strongest in the entire constituency. We were leading by close to 300 and the same thing would have applied to the RC school there.” Asked if he felt the suspension could have affected the PNM’s chances to cop all the aldermen positions in the borough corporation, he said they were guaranteed at least three.
“Probably, in hindsight, when we were looking at the proportional representation for the distribution of aldermen, we will have to look and see the results as they come in. I am sure we are going to get three, based on the figures we have won collectively.” Despite being in a joyous mood, he said he felt the PNM’s machinery had broken down in Siparia, where it should have got a few seats.
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