May 8, 2021

St. Vincent PM sworn in as protests caused riot police to be deployed

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svg-protestsBy Caribbean360 From St Lucia online

CARIBBEAN360 – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves was sworn in last night, five hours later than scheduled as the National Democratic Party (NDP) refused to concede a one-seat defeat to the Unity Labour Party (ULP) in Wednesday’s general elections and supporters blocked the road to Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne’s residence.

Riot police had to be called out as the NDP demonstrators tried to prevent Gonsalves from taking the oath of office for a fourth consecutive time.

Declaring there had been fraud and irregularities during the vote, and insisting that Gonsalves should not be sworn in before a recount in the Central Leeward constituency and other disputed constituencies had been completed, the

NDP insisted it would not accept the results which gave it seven of the 15 seats in Parliament and the ULP the other eight – the result as in the 2010 elections.

The NDP supporters and police scuffled and there was even a face to face confrontation involving Sir Louis Straker, who won the Central Leeward seat by 314 votes, and ULP leader Arnhim Eustace, as tensions ran hight.

Photo credit: Caribbean360

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Related story:

St Vincent opposition leader ‘stunned’ by election ‘irregularities’

From Caribbean News Now

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent — The leader of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St Vincent and the Grenadines took to the airwaves in an announcement that was repeated several times on local radio on Friday evening.

Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace said that his party is “stunned by some of the irregularities discovered so far” after Wednesday’s generaarnhim-eustace6l elections and has suggested that legal action would be taken on Monday.

To make matter worse, knowing of the allegations of irregularities, election officials have declared the Ralph Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party (ULP) as winners of the election by a single seat and Gonsalves has since been sworn as prime minister in by the governor general, rather hastily some believe.

The supervisor of elections declared the ULP won eight of the 15 seats contested in the elections, with the remaining seven going to the NDP, a repeat of the 2010 election result with exactly the same seats. The supervisor of elections, Sylvia Findlay, is the mother-in-law of Gonsalves’ press secretary Hans King.

But the NDP has refused to concede defeat, saying that it won the election.

“Let it be known that the New Democratic Party declares victory in the 2015 general elections in spite of the declaration made by the ULP and the supervisor of elections. The New Democratic Party and the Vincentian people as a whole will not and cannot allow the will of the people of this great nation to be usurped,” Eustace said.

Eustace went on to tell the listeners that he and the NDP candidates spent the whole day on Friday discussing the situation.

“We are stunned by some of the irregularities discovered so far. These will soon be revealed to all,” Eustace told listeners. “As I speak on these issues, today’s work to prepare the people’s case continues unabated. Rest assured that we will exhaust any and all legal mean to ensure that our people are not disenfranchised, beginning on Monday.”

He said the NDP is calling on “all right-thinking Vincentians and all our brothers and sisters throughout this region who value democracy to continue to stand firm and speak boldly in defence of the people’s sacred right to free and fair elections. Be not discouraged, my people. As a great man once said, ‘We know we will win as we are confident of the victory of good over evil.’”

Eustace’s seat is safe and he was re-elected as MP for East Kingstown for a fifth consecutive term.

He told listeners, “Because of the challenges facing our nation’s democracy over the last 48 hours, I have not had the opportunity to properly thank my constituents for placing their confidence in me for the fifth consecutive time.”

He went on to say, “I am both humbled and inspired by your love and loyalty and I will express my gratitude in person to you all in every area of the constituency very soon.”

Eustace is adamant that a great fraud has taken place and it will be exposed and corrected.

IMAGE; Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace

For more on this story go to:‘stunned’-by-election-‘irregularities’-28669.html

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