“I think when this entire process is finished, persons who are reflective and thoughtful will make a proper judgement which touch and concern politics” PM Gonsalves
Speaking about the recent judgement handed down by Justice Esco Henry surrounding the application for inspection of the 2015 election ballots by the main opposition party in SVG, Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the constitution of SVG gives the supervisor of elections the sole authority for the conduct of elections.
“ Under that authority and in pursuant to regulations made under the representation of the people act, she is the one responsible for appointing the respected election officials”.
Gonsalves said there is no cabinet appointment, but a matter between the Governor General and the supervisor of elections.
He said in so far as the ballot is concerned, the paper, as the minister responsible for electoral affairs, he does not see a ballot, until the day of voting, like any other Vincentians, because that is what the law said.
“ The printing of the ballot is a matter determined by the supervisor of elections, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Electoral Affairs will make the arrangements as to where those ballots are printed”.
Gonsalves said his job is to make sure that the money is released to conduct the elections, and before that, he goes to parliament and makes sure additional monies are voted upon so that the elections can go smoothly.
“ Inside of the room you have secrecy, it is explained what to do, and both parties have polling agents, and a candidate can go inside spend 15min if they want to stay longer their polling agent can leave and they can remain”.
That’s how the law is written Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves said the evidence reveals that in the last election lawyers and persons for the NDP was in Central Leeward with ballots in their hand.
“ I have never heard of such a thing, I would witness count, I would stand up and watch”.
Gonsalves said when the boxes are brought on election day they are inspected, turn upside down to make sure nothing is inside, that’s how an election is conducted, that’s why I want someone to tell me “how an election is stolen in St Vincent”.
“ I see some writing now, saying more people should be involved, well we went to the constitutional reform process, to have an electoral commission so more persons could be involved, but that was voted down”.
“ What is dastardly is that persons would go and tell their supporters, I have seen it written in articles by people, who parade around with first degree, masters degree, consultants and all the likes, and one of the things they say is for the petitions to determine if Ralph Gonsalves committed election fraud, my name is not even in the petitions”.
That kind of irresponsibility has been engendered, that has a political price, down the road, Gonsalves said.
“ That’s why I say when this thing is all over, this giving St Vincent a bad name, we had people who came and oversaw an election, then there might have been administrative errors, but the legitimacy of the poll was not affected, the people returned a government free and fair, but you went and pull down the institution”.
Gonsalves said they went further to harras on a daily basis the supervisor of elections, a good woman, former school teacher, verbally abused, and you think you will not pay for that at the polls next time, am waiting Gonsalves said.