duty done: Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, his wife, Natasha, left, and San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray display their stained fingers after casting their votes in the United National Congress internal elections yesterday at Ste Madeleine Secondary School. Both Moonilal and Coudray contested the position of deputy political leader. —Photo: DAVE PERSAD

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Moonilal: Voters turned away

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

Some members of the United National Congress (UNC), who turned up at a polling station in Aranjuez to cast their votes during the party's internal elections yesterday morning, were turned away at the gate and told they were ineligible to vote.

This was the update given by Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal yesterday morning after he voted at the Ste Madeleine Secondary School.

Moonilal, who was vying for the post of deputy political leader on the Nationalists slate, told voters to accept information only from officials at the polling stations.

"We are asking all members, all voters, do not accept any word from persons on the streets or by the gate of a school. Go to the returning officer, go to the polling station itself, the proper polling station and look at the official list. Ask whether or not your name is on that list. In that room, there will be polling agents from various teams, there will be election agents so that you will cross check to ensure that your name is on the list. Do not accept the word of anybody by a gate or outside the perimeter of the polling station," he said.

Moonilal said while at 10 a.m. voting in the larger constituencies had been slow, it was expected that after lunch there would be a heavier flow of voters.

But he said in his constituency of Oropouche East, voting had been high, with at least 400 people already casting their votes.

Sixty-five people were contesting positions in the party's national executive.

The Nationalists, UNC Soldiers and Generation Next filed nominations for 17 positions in the internal elections.

Moonilal said while there may have been tension and "very strong fights" during the election campaigns, he said over the last week they had been reduced to a "skirmish".

He was yesterday accompanied to the polling station by San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray, who was also contesting the seat of deputy political leader on Moonilal's slate.

Members of the Congress of the People (COP) were upset following her decision to run for a position within the UNC.

She said she believed her chances were "as good as any, better than many".

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