EBC to send election report to PM

Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 18:45

The Elec­tions and Bound­aries will send a re­port on its pre­pared­ness for the gen­er­al elec­tion to the Prime Min­is­ter with­in two weeks— but non-na­tion­als in­clud­ing Venezue­lans can­not vote in Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tions un­less they're TTT cit­i­zens.

Such in­for­ma­tion was con­veyed to a team from the Op­po­si­tion UNC which met with the EBC Board and EBC Chief Elec­tions Of­fi­cer Fern Nar­cis.

UNC chair­man Pe­ter Kan­hai head­ed the UNC team in­clud­ing MPs Bhoe Tewarie, UNC sen­a­tor Wade Mark and oth­ers.

The UNC had re­quest­ed a meet­ing with the EBC to dis­cuss over­all elec­tion pre­pared­ness, Kan­hai said.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment polls are due this year and gen­er­al elec­tion, next year.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Kan­hai told the T&T Guardian that both sides dis­cussed a wide va­ri­ety of is­sues which UNC had con­cerns about in­clud­ing on the elec­toral list, new reg­is­trants, ac­cu­ra­cy of lists, prob­lems with non-na­tion­als vot­ing and oth­er is­sues.

Kan­hai said EBC's team was asked about re­ports which the com­mis­sion usu­al­ly does ahead of elec­tions. He said UNC's team was told by the EBC that a re­port on gen­er­al elec­tion- re­gard­ing EBC's pre­pared­ness and oth­er is­sues - will be sent to Prime Min­is­ter Kei­th Row­ley and Speak­er of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Bridgid An­nisette-George with­in two weeks.

Such re­ports are usu­al­ly tabled in Par­lia­ment by the Gov­ern­ment, he not­ed.

Kan­hai said it was learned that the EBC's re­port on Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment polls was sent to the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter since 2017.

Kan­hai said UNC's par­lia­men­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be ask­ing ques­tions about that.

Kan­hai said UNC's team was told the cur­rent vot­er elec­toral list stands at ap­prox­i­mate­ly 1.000026 (mil­lion) and peo­ple are reg­is­ter­ing all the time. On ver­i­fi­ca­tion of new reg­is­trants, the UNC was as­sured EBC fol­lows up on in­for­ma­tion where queries arise.

He said UNC's queries on vot­er reg­is­tra­tion in­clud­ed about non-na­tion­als in­clud­ing Venezue­lans. He said the lat­ter as­pect was raised fol­low­ing me­dia re­ports on the pos­si­bil­i­ty of Venezue­lans be­ing giv­en some sort of vot­er reg­is­tra­tion card or ID card.

Kan­hai said, "But the EBC said ID cards can on­ly be is­sued to peo­ple with­in the am­bit of the Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Peo­ples' Act in­clud­ing be­ing a T&T cit­i­zen and liv­ing here for a pe­ri­od of time. So peo­ple have to meet cer­tain cri­te­ria - in­clud­ing hav­ing the nec­es­sary doc­u­men­ta­tion from Im­mi­gra­tion,"

Kan­hai said the UNC will con­tin­ue hav­ing meet­ings with the EBC on elec­tion mat­ters.

Reporter: Gail Alexander