A Sad Day
December 17, 2000
By Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 11, 2000 will go down as a dark, dank and dismal day for
and Tobago. It marks the day when T&T took its first step towards becoming
another Haiti; the moment when corruption entered the pores of the
system; a time when the decay of the moral center of the nation began.
be no doubt that the election was stolen from the PNM. Patrick Manning can
will emerge as the next Prime Minister of the nation after all is said and
It must be reiterated that the UNC only captured 17 seats. If the
law prevails (and it will) the Pointe-a-Pierre and Ortoire/Mayaro seats
awarded to the PNM for the simple reason that Winston Peters and William
were both ineligible to run for office. Therefore, they cannot take their
in Parliament. The courts have no other recourse but to rule that these two
seats belong to the PNM. For those who believe that perjury is a small
in a more sophisticated democracy a president was impeached for telling,
his mind, must have been an insignificant lie, under oath. Most of us lie
we are caught in marital infidelities. That did not stop the US House of
Representatives from impeaching President Clinton.
The notion that the people have spoken and therefore we ought to be
by their wishes or that Peters and Chaitan did not lie intentionally is
irrelevant. No one is willing to set a murderer free if he merely intended
wound someone when he administered his fatal blow. Nor, for that matter,
willing to allow a 15 year old (who looked like eighteen) to represent a
constituency if he was elected by the people.
Incidentally, the people
ís will seemed to of no consequence when Vincent Lasse
and Rupert Griffith betrayed its PNM constituents and supported the UNC.
cannot be changed retrospectively to accommodate the desires of those who
President A. N. R. Robinson has no other choice than to ask Manning
the next government since PNM possesses 18 as opposed to UNCís 17 seats.
his discretion, the President should assume that Pointe-a-Pierre and
Ortoire/Mayaro belong to the PNM until the court makes a final
To understand the irregularities that took place in this election one
has to look at the Tunapuna situation. When the 2000 Votersí List came
four thousand names could not account for. After the election, over eleven
hundred of those persons voted in Tunapuna. It is important to find out
of these persons really live in the Tunapuna constituency. A systematic
may reveal that most of these persons voted illegally in Tunapuna.
the announcement by the head of the EBC that one should vote where oneís
appeared on the poling list did not help matters at all. It is mind
that an institution pledged to neutrality urged the electorate to violate
that was set up for their own protection.
There were other irregularities as well. On Election Day, there were
reports that calls were being made by UNC representatives to persons with
telephone codes 655- asking them to come out and vote in the Tunapuna
constituency. Somaria Neverson, a senile woman, was brought to vote by her
daughter, Pearl. When Somaria signed the affidavit, she asked if she was
for her pension. Her daughter voted for her. At another address on Beccles
Street, there were over ten additional persons that could not be found.
PNM objected before the election, they were told there was nothing
they cold do. When, Oswald Wilson of the EBC said that one could vote
name appeared, such an announcement sealed the fate of Hart.
At about 5:10 p.m., on Election Day, Errol Jeffers rushed into the
in Tacarigua. He had gone down to a poling station at the El Dorado Senior
Comprehensive only to discover that someone else had voted for him. Plead
may, he was not allowed to vote. When Nigel Brathwaite arrived at Poling
1655, he discovered that the names of his mother, Ingrid Brathwaite, and
Jay Brathwaite had voted already. The only problem with such efficiency
both Ingrid and Jay reside in the USA. They could not have voted.
Voting in a constituency in which one does not belong does not only
the law; it also deprives the residents of that community from selecting
candidate of their choice. The massive violation of the electoral law in
Tunapuna constituency suggests that the constituents did not elect Mervyn
to office. Phantom voters and massive irregularities determined Hartís
When one considers that Hart lost the Tunapuna seat by 299 votes, it is
that these irregularities were responsible for his defeat. More
they are sufficient to launch a formal objection (which will be done) and
call for a new election in Tunapuna.
On November 16, 1532, Francisco Pizarro, a Spanish conquistador,
encountered emperor Atahuallpa, the absolute monarch of the Inca Empire, in
Peruvian highland town of Cajamarca. With a ragtag group of 168 soldiers,
Pizarro defeated Atahaullpa who commanded 80,000 soldiers. Although
some of the most brutal methods to annihilate Atahaullpa and his men (he
executed Atahaullpa in the end, despite his promise not to do so), this
encounter changed the entire course of American history. It was the
moment when the native peoples of America went into decline.
This might be too dramatic an analogy. However, if the UNC gets away
stealing this election, December 11, 2000 would stand as the day when
went into decline and anarchy began. A government elected under fraudulent
circumstances can have no legitimacy. It simply heralds in the
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