Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Boynes: I e-mailed PNM election committee on Friday

People’s National Movement (PNM) general-secretary candidate Ronald Boynes has hit back at the party’s Election Supervisory Committee’s (ESC) claims that it never received his formal complaint querying the conduct of the internal election process. 

“In light of claims by the ESC as reported in an article in the press, I, Ronald Boynes, member of the PNM and candidate for general secre­tary on the ‘Team Penny’ slate, wish to correct certain inaccuracies. Firstly, my letter requesting the preliminary list of members eligible to vote was sent via e-mail to pnminternalelections@gmail.com on Friday, April 18, at precisely 1:54:50 p.m,” Boynes said in a statement yesterday.

He added this was the address listed on the committee’s letterhead as the official e-mail address.

The committee’s office is upstairs Balisier House, Port of Spain, which was closed on Friday in observance of the Good Friday public holiday.

Boynes is contesting the party’s internal elections, scheduled for May 18, on the slate of candidates headed by Pennelope Beckles-Robin­son. The group is challenging current political leader Dr Keith Rowley and his contingent. 

The committee had said, in a media release on Saturday, it had noted comments appearing in the media and the references in a television news item to a letter purporting to have been written to the committee outlining concerns over the voting list and conduct of the election process.

“No such letter has been received by the committee or by any arm of the party to date. The committee has met all deadlines for the provision of information and an updated list of voters has been available to all constituencies since April 14, 2014, as a prelude to finalising the list of electors which will be available by April 30,” stated the committee’s release. 

Boynes also responded to the body’s concerns that “a newspaper report” published on Friday had said an official of one of the slates contesting the election, who was also a Member of Parliament, had provided a list of the party’s membership to a newspaper journalist. 

“This is in violation of the confidentiality with which the party expects applications for membership to be treated,” the committee said. 

Boynes countered: “The membership list was not given to the media by Team Penny. At a media conference on Saturday, April 19, reference was made to the list and certain pages were shown as evidence of our claims.”

Boynes said he “continues to await the response of the Election Supervisory Committee” to his request as detailed in his letter.

Attempts by the Express to ascertain whether the committee has in fact received Boynes’s letter were inconclusive, since committee chairman Charles Mitchell is out of the country and vice-chairman Murchison Brown did not answer calls to his mobile phone.