UNC’s candidate for Tunapuna david Nakhid is interviewed by members of the media during the recount of ballots at the Upper El Dorado Community Centre,  College Road yesterday.

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The United National Congress’ (UNC) candidate for Tunapuna David Nahkid has claimed the democratic process was corrupted after a dispute occurred in relation to the recount in the electoral district yesterday.

Nakhid told Guardian Media that at around 6 pm, the presiding officer informed his group that they wished to continue the recount until 11 pm. However the UNC team were unable to settle on an appropriate time up to which they could have a representative present to oversee the process.

Nahkid had also slammed the claim made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, which suggested the UNC’s call for a recount had a racial undercurrent.

In an interview on CNC3’s the Morning Brew, the Prime Minister said the UNC was attempting to send a message to a specific part of the population that they had election result was illegitimate.

“I think the statements by Keith Rowley are completely unjustified, there’s nothing about race. He brings that up then blames it on other people. We need to realise that we as politicians, we need to take the country forward, the public discourse, content and tone must be different. It must be one now to find if this was a free and fair election,” said Nahkid outside the El Dorado Community Centre, where recounts for the Tunapuna electoral district were taking place.

“We need to direct the narrative in a realistic way and that is this is part of the democratic process. We have concerns, there are irregularities and some inconsistencies that we’ve seen so far and we believe that in the interest of Trinidad and Tobago, this is not about party, this is about in the interest of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago,” said Nahkid.

“We need to make sure that this was a free and fair election, and this is our right and I think political leader was correct in her assessment to ask for this recount and anybody trying to take it away from what it is, which is to determine if it is a free and fair election is doing an injustice to Trinidad and Tobago.”

He added the UNC would not be bullied with regard to the recount, as it is their democratic right.

The Tunapuna seat was one of five seats in which the UNC had requested a recount. Esmond Forde was declared winner in the original count with 9,409, Nahkid had reportedly received 7,326 votes.