OECS calls for public calm in St. Vincent; opposition vows massive civil protest

The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has called for public calm following the disputed general election in St. Vincent and Grenadines.

The opposition National Democratic Party (NDP) has refused to accept the results of the December 9 election, which it lost by one seat to United Labour Party (ULP). There 15 constituencies on the island.

The NDP has vowed civil disobedience after Christmas.

“We accordingly urge that all parties maintain the public calm and follow the constitutionally established processes for the orderly resolution of any electoral dispute,” OECS Chairman, Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, said in a statement. “The people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines deserve nothing less.”

Observer missions sent to St. Vincent by the OAS, the Commonwealth and CARICOM all reported that the election was free and fair.

But the NDP said its investigations revealed that 320 illegal votes were cast in the disputed Central Leeward Constituency, which it said it won by six votes. Electoral Office officials declared that the ULP won the seat by 313 votes.

Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace, said his party will not recognise “an illegitimate government” since the election was not free and fair.

“We have written to the OAS formally complaining about the illegitimate instalment of Ralph Gonsalves as Prime Minister,” he said in a statement. “We have asked for the use of the region mechanism to ensure that democracy is saved and protected in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

He added legal actions concerning the elections were filed in the courts on Wednesday 16th December 2015.

“We are moving to challenge these fraudulent elections in the court, where we are confident of legal redress,” he stated. “In the interim, we will continue acts of civil disobedience and non-recognition of this imposed regime.”

He added, “the party will continue with a series of massive protest right after Christmas, the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines have told us not to let this injustice stand, and we have also heard them. So this struggle will continue after Christmas…”

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