Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Controversy brewing over Moruga winner
Controversy is brewing over just who won the Moruga electoral district in the Princes Town Regional Corporation. This after the People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate Kenwyn Williams apparently snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat by 40 votes at the end of last afternoon’s recount in Princes Town.
However, United National Congress’s (UNC) candidate and former Moruga councillor Phillip Gonsalves, who was first told he lost the district in Monday’s local government elections and then told he actually won the district, has requested another recount. This second recount is likely to take place tomorrow in Princes Town before a different presiding officer, one official said last night.
Williams was officially declared the winner of Moruga electoral district after Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) officials concluded their recount. Gonsalves, who confirmed Williams was declared the new winner last afternoon, told the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview last night he was not going to accept the results just yet. He said: “I am not conceding just yet. They told me 105 ballots of my voters were rejected or spoiled. So much?
“I have been advised to go further with this and I have requested another recount. We need to get the head of the EBC in this and really find out what is going on. I am not going to take that.” Gonsalves declined to comment further until the second recount was held.
An EBC official said the ballots which were rejected were soiled by red electoral ink or excess black ink from the voting stamp.
Yesterday an EBC recount, which ended at 6.30 pm, gave Williams a 40-vote lead over Gonsalves. The final total was given as Williams 1,778 to Gonsalves 1,738. “It is the best birthday gift ever,” Williams, of La Lune, Moruga, said last afternoon during a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian moments after winning the electoral district. Initially, Williams was declared the winner of the seat on Monday and was even congratulated by his opponent Gonsalves, 51, of Basse Terre.
However, Gonsalves was later declared the official winner clenching the electoral district 1,843 votes to Williams’ 1,747 votes. Williams contested Monday’s results and yesterday EBC officials conducted a recount of the votes, which was presided over by Azim Bassarath. The PNM candidate could not contain his excitement over his victory as he praised God for the win. He said he made a special birthday on Saturday wish to win on Monday but admitted he was disappointed with the initial results.
With the official results now in his favour Williams said yesterday he was grateful and intended to hold a thanksgiving service on the weekend. “It feels great, it feels great after a night and day of disappointment and a lot heartache after the UNC was declared the winner. “But after a long day at the recount and a lot of prayers… my prayers have been answered. This is what I wished for on Saturday,” he said.
The father of two said when he requested the recount, which was held at the Princes Town #1 Presbyterian Primary School, he was confident he would have been declared the winner.
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