February 13, 2001

“Gypsy” to answer a charge

Junior Culture Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters to answer a charge of fraudulently attempting to register to vote where he does not live.

Mark Mohammed, the Director of Public Prosecutions, who initiated the investigation, yesterday issued a summons for Peters to answer the charge of making a false statement to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) for the purpose of being registered as an elector.

Peters attempted to register to vote at Radix Village on August 30, 2000, Mayaro, although he lived at 112 Charles Street, Lange Park, Chaguanas.

The penalty under Section 67:2 of the Representation of the People Act carries a fine of $750 and six months’ imprisonment. And, under Section 48:1 (f), Peters will be disqualified from his seat in the House of Representatives if convicted of any offence relating to elections.

The charge was laid under the Summary Offences Act and must be heard before a magistrate, which is why the DPP has not issued a warrant for Peters’ arrest.

This is unlike the other election-related charges against people who allegedly attempted to pad the voters’ list, which is an indictable offence and must be heard by a High Court judge and jury.

The summons is expected to be served on Peters today by Port of Spain detectives.

Peters is now embroiled in a legal battle to keep the Ortoire/Mayaro seat which he 'won' for the UNC in the last general election.

He also faces the possibility of prosecution for making a false declaration when he filed his nomination papers to contest the seat. This matter is now before the DPP for consideration.

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