RADHICA DE SILVA
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she has filed 3,000 objections with the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) of people falsely claiming to live in marginal seats.
Speaking to reporters during the UNC screening in San Fernando yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said her ground troops have been researching the electoral list since 2018.
“We have lodged with the EBC several complaints and objections. People living in a constituency and they are not there. For two years we have been doing those checks so we filed 3,000 objections in the marginals already. This is something that I will be paying more attention to,” she said.
She also revealed that their ground checks have unearthed several Venezuelans holding T&T identification cards.
“Venezuelans are being given T&T IDs to vote. We have raised this before and we remain concerned. We will continue to monitor every house in the electoral list,” she vowed.
During the screening on Wednesday night, Persad-Bissessar said all sitting MP’s were to be screened following which other nominees will follow on a subsequent day.
So far four seats with sitting MP’s have already been decided.
Saying she wanted to complete screening this week, Persad-Bissessar said because of the large number of nominees, this was unlikely.
“We have had a massive number of nominees. It is very interesting because it means so many people want to be a part and onboard. It also means that it takes us longer to complete screening,” Persad-Bissessar said.
With elections just a few months away, Persad-Bissessar said the party was in full election gear.
Asked about screening for the Princes Town seat, Persad-Bissessar confirmed that the incumbent MP Barry Padarath had filed a nomination and virtual screening was possible.
Defending Padarath who is said to be under investigation by the police, Persad-Bissessar said, “I have seen what is going on. It is just a way to tarnish his name as they did to me in 2015 with Emailgate. They have nothing new to campaign on. They tried to get to Barry because they know he is close to me.”
She added, “He (Padarath) is a very important member of our team. They have nothing whatever except to try to take Barry out of the game.”
She also said that she was very worried about the possibility that the government will call elections when the borders are still closed.
If this is done, many people will become disenfranchised, Persad Bissessar said.
She noted that screening has to be done for two seats on the corridor, adding that candidates for La Horquetta/Talparo and Toco/Sangre Grande will be declared by the end of this week.
Screening for La Brea has also been completed and the candidate will be announced soon, she added.
Saying there was a possibility that elections could be as early as August, Persad-Bissessar said her full slate of candidates will be presented to the media in due course.