February 4, 2001 ABSTRACT: TRINIDAD EXPRESS
trinicenter.com

Dead man voting

A DEAD man, a crippled man, three people who have migrated and several others who never left their homes voted in the San Juan/Barataria constituency in the 2000 election.

These were among some of the irregularities discovered in a Sunday Express investigation of allegations of voter padding in the constituency which was won by United National Congress (UNC) candidate and now Junior Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan.

Former sea captain Sonny Lopez, too, mysteriously left his house at Boundary Road and voted, though his crippled leg could not take him there. Lopez, 80, told the Sunday Express he never left his home on election day and still had his poll card to show.

"Nobody come and take me. I canít go anywhere without help with this leg so I didnít vote," he said.

At Backchain Street in El Socorro, the parking lot of the famous Panchoís roti shop had the name of six members of one family, whose name no one in the area whom we questioned, knew. Ninety four people who had addresses on this street voted in the election, but the street has two large car parks for Patraj and Aliís roti shop, businesses on the west end and just about eight houses on either side and only two of these with tenanted apartments.

Ninety two people voted from the ten houses located on William Street in polling division #1436, 20 of these carrying the address of the Ali family who do live on William Street but do not have that many members of voting age living there.

Five people who never lived at Farouk Avenue and are not known by or related to any of the families living there, also voted in polling division #1436.

At Boundary Road which has just about ten houses on the west side of the street in polling division #1436, 87 people voted, 24 of whom could not be identified as having lived there.

Eighteen of the 137 people who voted on Jo Jo Lane could not be found and at Goose Lane, 19 of the 67 were not where they claimed to be living when we knocked on the doors. At Mohammedville, one Azad Mohammed who is not known there, voted, and poll cards went to three other names who never lived there but none of these people voted.

However, polling agents in this area reported that several people whose names were not on their list voted in that polling divison after receiving consent from EBC officials at San Juan Hill where the returning officer had set up office.

Jameel Mustapha, campaign manager of defeated PNM candidate Nafeesa Mohammed, who supplied the Sunday Express with the list of names of people who voted, as tallied by PNM polling agents, said the inaccuracies are endless.

Nicole Andrews who worked as a runner for the PNM, said she was told her ballot had been cast as a special elector though she did not vote. After a trip up San Juan Hill, she was allowed to vote outside of her residential area.

Mustapha said the area over the Churchill-Roosevelt highway known as El Socorro Extension, has a population of just under 1,000 people and consists mainly of factories, businesses and warehouses. It is an area plagued by perennial flooding, yet more than 1,700 people voted for the UNC there as opposed to 100 for the PNM.

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