Disgruntled PNMites became angry and suspicious when ballots boxes failed to show after midnight at the PNM’s Tobago Council’s offices at Bacolet Road on Sunday.
Ann John, a resident of John Dial, Tobago, was one of a handful of supporters who had gathered sometime after 6 pm on Sunday eagerly awaiting results. Shortly before 11pm, John became furious and demanded answers. John said she believe something was sinister was at hand.
According to the party supporter, in the history of the THA elections such a delay had never been experienced. She said she was disappointed the incumbent Kelvin Charles failed to show and give some assurance.
“What really going on? I need answers. Why no ballot boxes? We need to know where the boxes are. Since I born I hear Jesus coming; the boxes are like Jesus. Look at the hour,” she stated.
Alvin Pascal, chairman of the Elections Supervisory Committee, spoke with the media shortly before midnight. He said there was nothing sinister in the delay. He said results were expected to be given out by 11 pm. However no poll came in from the 13 stations across Tobago.
Pascal says this was the first time that a one-man-one-vote system was being used and 17 positions were up for grabs. He said some stations may have to check as many as 10,000 votes.
He also told reporters that the elections were successful but the major issue was the counting of the votes that were being done in the presence of the candidates’ agents. He said the process was being done in a careful manner to ensure no mistakes are made.
From as early as 6 pm, party supporters started gathering outside the PNM’s wooden building placed precariously on the eastern side of Bacolet Road. Inside the office, staff were busy drawing up a blackboard with chalk to post results. Tensions started growing as supporters demanded official results. However, up to midnight their calls were in vain.
The first ballot boxes arrived sometime before 1 am.
Counting of ballots stopped after 4 am on Monday. At that time, a decision was taken to stop the count, seal the boxes and re start the counting process at 2pm today, at the PNM Tobago Council office.
A leader for the PNM Tobago Council is still to be decided.
Story by SHASTRI BOODAN
Images by VINDRA GOPAUL