EBC: Lawbreakers face fines or imprisonment

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) is warning members of the Tobago public who will go to the polls today to be wary of breaking the law on polling day.

In a full-page advertisement in the daily newspapers the EBC outlined several sections of Chapter 2:01 of the Representation of the People Act which identified various offences on polling day and their accompanying fines.

The advertisement listed sections 88, 89, 90, 91, 94 and 99 which outlined the various offences which included the hiring or use of any band of music on polling day within an electoral district, the playing of music at any meeting or in any procession held on polling day within an electoral district for which an election is being held until two hours after the closing of the poll. This offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $7,500 or to imprisonment for six months.

The advertisement also pointed out that the use of loudspeakers, banners or wearing of badges, bunting, ensign, standard or set of colours or any flag with intent that it should be worn or used on cars, vehicles or political propaganda within electoral districts should not be done. Persons failing to adhere to the law could be fined seven thousand five hundred dollars or face six months in prison.

The EBC also warned persons of assembling or congregating in polling stations or within one hundred yards and pointed out that those who contravene this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine of seven thousand, five hundred dollars or prison time of three months.

Members of the public should not attempt to influence any elector to vote or to refrain from voting for any candidate or political party or to ascertain for whom any elector intends to vote or has voted on polling day, in any polling station or upon any road or in any public place within one hundred yards of any polling station, seek to influence any elector, the EBC notice stated.

Those who break this law will be liable on summary conviction to a fine of seven thousand, five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for three months.

Bars and rumshop owners should remember that intoxicating liquor is not to be sold, offered or exposed for sale, or given away at any premises licensed under the Liquor Licences Act in any electoral district for which an election is being held at any time between the opening and the closing of the poll on polling day.

And persons who vote knowing that he or she is not entitled to vote or votes more than once at the same or another electoral district or entices someone else to do so or attempts to vote in the name of someone other than his or herself, will be breaking the law.

"A person who commits the offence of personation or of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of the offence of personation is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of thirty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years.

"Except as otherwise specifically provided, a person guilty of an illegal practice is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars or to imprisonment for six months."

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