By Richard Lord
THREE officials of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) have been named in connection with vote-padding allegations.
The names are contained in a statement given to the police by a former UNC official who is now a protected witness.
He claims that the trio collaborated with him and he was often in contact with them. In the statement, the man claims he was hired and paid a salary of $2,200 a month in August 2000 “to accelerate the exercise of transferring votes from the strong UNC constituencies to the marginals”.
He said he “personally went into the field day in and night out to co-ordinate and complete this exercise”.
He went into extensive detail on how the alleged vote-padding exercise was conducted. He speaks about having formulated a “grand master plan” of “how to pad the electoral list by moving 1,000 votes into each of the marginal constituencies”.
In the statement, the witness describes how 500 votes were moved from Felicity to Barataria/San Juan and from St Helena to Tunapuna.
The man said at the end of August he began “to hit the road approaching families to talk to people to get them to transfer their vote”.
The plan, he claimed, was two-fold: “The idea was to take it from the bottom, meaning the grassroots, the actual people on the streets and from the top. I took it from the bottom while someone else worked the top”.
He added: “Some girls were employed to write up the Form 22s in an office at Streatham Lodge. I got the first batch of 800 Form 22s from an EBC official. The process was that we would collect the names, then we would drop the names at an office on one day.”
He said the Form 22s would then be taken back to the activists “and we would pass for the completed Form 22s in two days”.
He said those who signed were told they could expect URP jobs.
“We promised the people that their names would be on a database if they signed the Form 22, and next year when work came up they would get work in the URP.
“The plan for election day was to pick them up early, arrange their lunch and dinner and drop them back home. I told them they could expect something.”
The man said he later submitted this information to PNM general secretary, Martin Joseph.
He is expected to testify soon at the ongoing Commission of Enquiry into the operations of the EBC.
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