My son Kyle’s first word was “Car”. His second word was “Bang”. So I’m hoping this isn’t a harbinger of things to come.
The Opposition PNM is today issuing a supplementary voting list for Sunday’s party elections to ensure that some names which were on the preliminary list—and have “fallen off”—will be added back to the list. That was confirmed yesterday by PNM elections commission vice-chairman Murchison Browne. It will be the third version of the list. A preliminary list was issued last month and a final list, two weeks ago. Team Penny is awaiting today’s release of the supplemental list before deciding if to proceed with legal action to halt the polls. That was indicated by MP Nileung Hypolite yesterday.
Expressing concern about the situation, Hypolite said many people were still not on the voting list despite being members. He said that included Noel Robinson, husband of PNM leadership challenger Pennelope Beckles-Robinson. Hypolite said Mr Robinson’s name was not on the voting list despite the fact he is chairman of PNM’s party group 19 in Arima. Hypolite said Beckles-Robinson’s father’s name was not on the list either. He said Beckles Sr’s name had been on the list but “came off.” Hypolite said Team Penny hoped the supplementary list today would rectify the situation.
He said the team was doing all it can—writing letters, checking—to ensure the voting list issues were resolved and the group did not have to undertake legal action. He said that would be the ultimate last resort if all else failed. Hypolite said there were several other difficulties candidates were encountering, including allegedly being told they had to pay $1,800 for a copy of the list to do their canvassing. Yesterday Browne said PNM’s general council last Saturday agreed to allow the supplementary voting list. He said some names which were on the preliminary voting list had “fallen off somehow” and were being put back on the list.
He said the council agreed to the supplementary list following many requests from people in constituencies whose names had “fallen off“ the list. Browne could not say how the situation had occurred or how many people were affected. “For some reason they (names) fell off, due a glitch,” he said. The preliminary list was 79,363 in April. At that time Team Penny alleged thousands of supporters were rejected from the list. PNM’s commission extended deadline to regularise the situation and instituted a query form procedure to deal with the issue. Team Penny lodged queries for approximately 3,500 people. After that concluded two weeks ago, the list was increased to 81,529. Browne could not say how much bigger the list would be after additions from the supplementary list. Nor was he perturbed by Team Penny’s threats of legal action. He said the group continued to present the same complaints but “we are going ahead with our preparation for Sunday’s election regardless.”