KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Wednesday December 16, 2015 – Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Findlay says she did her duty to ensure free, fair and transparent general elections last week, and dismissed allegations of fraud levelled by the losing main opposition National Democratic Party (NDP).The NDP has refused to accept the results of the December 9 elections in which it lost by one seat, winning seven of the 15 constituencies compared to the United Labour Party’s (ULP) eight – a repeat of the outcome in the last elections – and has been staging street protests.
According to the opposition, there were voting irregularities and the election was rigged to give Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves a fourth consecutive term in office. The party on Monday boycotted the swearing-in of the Cabinet at Heritage Square and held a protest a short distance away.But in a statement issued on Monday which outlined her work ahead of, during and after Election Day and detailed NDP confrontations, Findlay said: “The Office [of the Supervisor of Elections] is committed to free, fair and transparent elections. The Office is equally convinced that when all the facts are known, it will be evident that the allegations which are now being made are based on misinformation and half-truths and untruths.”Findlay, who said she came under verbal attack from NDP supporters since the vote, said she received eight letters of complaint on Election Day from the NDP dealing with slow voting in the Central Kingstown, West St. George, and Marriaqua constituencies; an incident at a polling station in the Central Leeward constituency; a ULP candidate being allowed to remain in a polling station in Central Leeward beyond maximum time; political campaigning being broadcast on television; and ULP polling agents canvassing and advising persons on who to vote for.She said she also received a call in the afternoon of that same day, from NDP leader Arnhim Eustace who registered strong objection to the Electoral Office providing two different Voters’ Lists to the NDP and the ULP outside agents in East Kingstown. Findlay said, however, that identical sets of lists were provided to the parties a week before the election.“The Office of the Supervisor of Elections wishes to record its profound disappointment with the latest display of disrespect meted out by a small sector of the Vincentian community, but which nonetheless can do irreparable damage to the high regard in which the Vincentian electoral system has been held since 1951 when the nation conducted its first elections,” Findlay said.The Supervisor of Elections added that she had spent long days and nights at work in an effort to ensure all was ready and above board for the elections.In fact, she said, the records would show that since November 7 when the election date was announced, she was at the Electoral Office every day – Saturdays and Sundays included – until December 13 when she met with the Returning Officer and the Election Clerk to review allegations of voting irregularities in the Central Leeward constituency which the NDP highlighted at a press conference the previous day.