The ballot boxes for the PNM Tobago Council internal elections currently are under police guard at the Council’s headquarters.
And the ballots will be kept under the watchful eye of the police, to ensure no tampering takes place, until counting resumes this afternoon.
Counting of ballots came to a halt in the early hours of Monday, much to the dismay of many members of the PNM. Several expressed concern that the election might have been rigged, and questioned the reasons behind the delay.
However, chairman of the Elections Supervisory Committee, Alvin Pascall, said the Tobago PNM internal elections was the biggest in the country. He noted that such a feat has never been attempted in Trinidad and Tobago.
“We are talking about 17 positions. I don’t think anybody in Trinidad and Tobago has done an election as large as this with 17 positions. It is like 17 elections,” he explained, “and we are saying that if you have a polling station of 400 persons by chance and you multiply that by the amount of ballots per position, you are talking at many times you are counting over 8000 pieces of paper.”
He added: “It is at the stage where we felt we have comfortably run an election up to 6pm. We felt quite successful that we have reached that stage, our only issue right now is the counting and all we could say is that counting is taking place assiduously in the polling stations.”
Alvin Pascall assured there was nothing sinister behind the delay.
However, around 4:30am on Monday, counting was suspended, after only two polling stations submitted their final tally.
The first ballot box from the Parlatuvier Community Centre arrived at the Tobago Council office at 12:40am.
Pascall said the decision to halt the count was taken to safeguard the welfare of their personnel
“Because of the hour in the morning, and because of the welfare of our personnel in the polling stations, we are very tired at this hour. We have taken the decision that we will seal and secure those boxes and return them to Council office for counting,” he confirmed. “We hope to resume at 2 o’clock today. I have made contact with the candidates by telephone and we seem to have a consensus to the action we are taking,” he said.
The final ballot box from the Canaan/Bon Accord Multipurpose Facility arrived at 6:23 am.
The only two polling stations with official results were Parlatuvier Multipurpose Facility and the John Dial Multipurpose Facility.
For the post of Political Leader at the Parlatuvier polling station, Tracy Davidson-Celestine dominated with 119 votes; while Kelvin Charles received 17 votes; Joel Jack got 15; and Dr. Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus got 3 votes.
At the John Dial polling station, Joel Jack took the lead with 170 votes; Kelvin Charles was second with 35 votes; Tracy Davidson-Celestine followed with 29; and Dr. Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus garnered15 votes.
Story and images by CASANDRA THOMPSON-FORBES