Calling for a forensic audit into the issuing of national identification cards to Venezuelans, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has urged her former political colleague, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, to investigate alleged collusion at the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
Speaking at the United National Congress' Monday Night Forum at the St Mary’s Government Primary School, Persad-Bissessar said she suspected that EBC members were colluding with the People’s National Movement (PNM) to steal the local government and upcoming general elections.
Describing the development as frightening, Perasd-Bissessar said she had taken note of recent reports of Venezuelan nationals being issued Trinidad and Tobago identification cards.
"They will try to steal the elections and subvert the electoral process because they are in collusion with the EBC,” Persad-Bissessar told supporters.
“Don't be fooled! The EBC has corrupt officials in their ranks. We never paid notice until after the 2015 elections."
Although the EBC denied any collusion, Persad-Bissessar said the recent shifting of boundaries, house padding and changes in the location of polling divisions in favour of the PNM was suspicious.
"I want to sound a warning tonight to the corrupt members in the EBC and to the Rowley PNM that our eyes are on you and we will expose every one of you," she said.
Showing a photo of the fake ID held in the name of a Venezuelan national, Persad- Bissessar noted that the birthplace on the Venezuelan's ID was Chaguanas - a seat that the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley promised to win.
She claimed to have the names of companies associated with the PNM which were hiring Venezuelan nationals.
"These companies, who are financiers of the PNM, have been instructed by Balisier House to hire the Venezuelan workers and get them registered with the EBC," she added.
She also asked about an ongoing investigation where Venezuelans were purchasing false birth papers at a cost of $3,500.
Elaborating on the changing polling divisions, Persad-Bissessar said, "The EBC has moved four polling divisions from San Fernando East into San Fernando West all to the benefit of the PNM. Two were moved prior to the 2015 general elections and two are currently proposed to be moved for the 2020 general elections. They moved three polling divisions from Oropouche East into San Fernando East and then two from San Fernando East into San Fernando West prior to the 2015 general elections. "
Saying it was clear that there were corrupt members of the EBC, Persad- Bissessar said the UNC will have to work extra hard to win the elections. She said party nominations will close in April and in early May screening will begin. She also said if the UNC wins the election she will connect Moruga to Cedros and will diversify the peninsula.
"They are building HDC houses in all marginal constituencies and closer to the elections they will stock them with PNM diehard voters and the EBC will quickly to register them in those areas," Persad-Bissessar claimed.
"The corrupt EBC members seem to be working overtime in collusion with elements of the PNM and HDC. So it's a three-pronged approach - house pad with HDC; register non-national voters; move electoral boundaries to swing seats in the PNM favour.
"I am calling on the Commissioner of Police to launch an immediate investigation into these corrupt and fraudulent activities at the EBC."