IAN KEVIN RAMDHANIE
Caribbean Institute for Security
and Public Safety
The possibility of legal action to postpone Sunday’s PNM national executive elections is looming. Members of the slate of candidates led by Pennelope Beckles-Robinson were expected to meet with a Senior Counsel yesterday to discuss major concerns about the party’s readiness for the historic election. Following the meeting a source said talks were inclusive and no decision was taken as yet.
Ronald Boynes, who is seeking election as general secretary, said a meeting was scheduled for yesterday to decide on the next move by members of the slate being led by Beckles-Robinson, who is contesting the post of political leader. No specific mention was made of any legal action, but Boynes and Beckles-Robinson said the group was examining all its options. They spoke during a news conference at Hotel Normandie, St Ann’s on Tuesday.
Boynes said: “Both the preliminary and final voters’ lists are defective,” adding that “over 4,000 people who applied to register online prior to the deadline were rejected.” He questioned whether the Elections Supervisory Committee, led by Charles Mitchell, was able to handle an election with a system of one-man one-vote. “As it stands today, we do not have a final (voters) list. Most of the candidates did not have a voters’ list,” he said.
Noting that party chairman Franklin Khan had apologised for that incident, Boynes said it had affected the democracy within the party. “We are considering all our options in this matter. We don’t want to participate in an exercise in futility and disrespect thousands of people who applied to join this great party,” he added in response to questions. Among the other concerns expressed on Tuesday was an $1,800 fee for candidates requesting the final voters’ list, which he said should be given at no charge.
He said thousands of online registrations could not be found and some of the applications were not taken to the general council but were “stopped at the door of the party’s general secretary and chairman.” Beckles-Robinson said as a result of the concerns: “We may have to exercise certain options which we are at this point in time considering.” She dismissed the latest Nacta poll, which said Rowley was expected to win. She said the polls would be proven to be inaccurate.
Among the concerns were
• The rejection of thousands of online applications before February 28
• The non-availability of the final voters’ list to all candidates by April 30
• A cost of $1,800 for the final list