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Saturday 17 August 2019
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Duke wants Caricom observers for THA election

POLITICAL Leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) Watson Duke is calling on the People’s National Movement (PNM) led Government to invite Caricom observers to oversee the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election scheduled for January 23.

Duke, speaking at a press conference at the Public Services Association (PSA) headquarters in Scarborough on Tuesday, made his call for observers as he claimed that he has information that the People’s National Movement (PNM) was conspiring to send persons to Tobago to create social and political unrest in the lead-up to the THA election with the objective of swaying votes in favour of the PNM’s Tobago Council.

“We are concerned that it does not spill over into the voting booth and affect the way persons would have already committed themselves to vote. Therefore, we are calling upon the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, I say the Government, and not the PNM, to invite Caricom observers to oversee these serious elections,” he said.

Saying that the election was of crucial importance to Tobagonians and that it should not only appear to be free and fair but be actually so.

“This year, having waited for 16 years, the Tobago people are expected and are well intended to come out and vote for the Progressive Democratic Patriots.

“We are asking that these elections be conducted with the highest level of responsibility by the Government of this country, therefore invite the Caricom group, it is not too late,” Duke said.

“It (the election) must be free and it must be fair and no one must be forced into giving any vote that they are not willing to give,” he added.

Claiming that his source of information about possible disruptions was credible, Duke said: “We cannot give out our source of information as it can incriminate persons but, what I can say is that, the information is rife that they are planning to disrupt this election because the writing is on the wall, the PDP is going to take over the THA.

“They intend to bribe people, they intend to bully people, they intend to pull down persons’ flyers and deface people’s marks of identification for the party so as to bring about a type of unrest in Tobago and turn people away from the polls,” Duke contended.

Also speaking at the press conference, PDP candidate for Goodwood/ Belle Garden, Dr Faith BYisrael called on the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) to pay attention to special voters.

“We are calling on the EBC to be very specific in identifying and making public the polling station within each electoral district where those special ballots would be placed in and counted.

“We know that it is expected, that it is required by law that those special ballots are desegregated based on electoral districts and they should be placed only within their electoral districts, to be counted on the night of election.

“We are therefore asking the EBC, please follow that process, please identify within each electoral district where the polling stations that these special ballots will be placed in, make that information public so that we are all aware of where they will be counted,” she said.

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