RADHICA DE SILVA
As independent voting analysts polled electors in the Moruga/Tableland constituency, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) issued a notice advising that these surveys were illegal.
The analysts were also seen outside the Cowen Hamilton Secondary School asking confidential questions on voting preferences. Similar surveys were done at the St Mary’s Government Primary School.
Guardian Media caught up with two of the analyst’s agents Randy Deo and Alexx Nandanlal, of Caribbean Development Statistics, who confirmed that the independent surveys were being done across the country.
Deo said electors were polled about voting preferences.
Saying the questions were totally voluntary and were not an infringement on anyone’s rights to privacy, Deo explained, “This is completely anonymous and we are giving them the option to answer. If they are not willing, we will scrap the survey. It is completely up to you to give the information if you want to.”
He said the survey was merely to gather data on the voting patterns which would be used by the analyst in media forums.
He added: “We are gathering information for an exit poll to provide an analysis and draw conclusions as to the preliminary results to show what direction the votes will go. We are gathering data to figure out how the voting will go. We are doing it in every marginal, throughout Trinidad in all polling stations and data is then gathered collectively.”
He said random people are interviewed.
Up to 9 am, 150 people were polled in the constituency.Meanwhile, the EBC advised yesterday that this independent survey was illegal.
Speaking to Guardian Media’s Gail Alexander, EBC communications Manager Bobbi Rogers, said, “This is illegal. The Representation of the People Act, Chap. 2:01 Section 64 (3) (d) says: No person shall directly or indirectly induce an elector to disclose to any person the name of the candidate or political party for whom he or she has or has not voted.”Other complaints were also made in North Trinidad.