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Penny gives deadline for PNM voters’ list

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

A deadline of 4 p.m. on Monday has been given for the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) preliminary list of voters to be provided to Pennelope Beckles-Robinson’s campaign team or legal action will be taken.

PNM member and attorney Ronald Boynes, who is a candidate in Beckles-Robinson’s team, sent a letter to Charles Mitchell, chairman of the elections supervisory committee, raising concerns over elections irregularities and requesting the list be provided, in accordance with the party’s rules and regulations. 

On Thursday, Laventille West MP Nileung Hypolite said the elections were not free and fair and provided documentation, purporting to show bias in favour of Keith Rowley.

In his letter to Mitchell, Boynes noted in accordance with Rule 7 of the rules and regulations that govern the election of officers for 2014 (“the Rules”) the chairman of the elections supervisory committee shall present the preliminary list of members entitled to vote in the internal elections by the 30th day after nomination day to a specifically convened meeting of the general council. 

Boynes stated the preliminary list of voters was presented on April 14 to the general council.

He pointed out Rule 7 further requires the preliminary list shall be made available to Balisier House and all sub-regional offices 48 hours after presented to the council. 

“Contrary to the above rules, the said preliminary list is not available at Balisier House, the sub-regional offices and/ or the constituency offices of the movement” stated Boynes.

He stated further, Rule 9 provides the final list is to be prepared by the general secretary 14 days after the preliminary list was delivered (April 28) to the general council for their approval and delivery to the elections supervisory committee. 

“Unless the preliminary list is made available, members will be unable to determine whether they have been improperly omitted from the preliminary list and may be deprived of the opportunity to make representations to have their names included on the final list as they are entitled under Rule 8,” stated Boynes.

He disclosed he was “particularly concerned” about statements made by general secretary Ashton Ford in an Express report, “which strongly suggests that thousands of members might have been disenfranchised, in violation of the rules”.

Boynes said he was also concerned about statements made by Ford on a radio programme called “Flash Drive” on 91.1 fm, to the effect the candidates will have to go to all 41 constituencies to view the preliminary list. 

Boynes stated this was a clear violation of the rules and a conflict of interest.

“In view of the foregoing, I am requesting that the elections supervisory committee complies with the rules and make available the preliminary list of voters at Balisier House, the sub-regional offices and/or the constituency offices, no later than 4 p.m. on Monday 21st April, 2014,” stated Boynes.

“Please note that failure to comply with this request may result in affected members resorting to legal action to compel your compliance with the rules,” the letter concluded.

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