Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 24th 2013 Contents A6
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Two days after an incident-free
local government elections, sup-
porters of two major political parties
found themselves in an intense
standoff outside of a polling station
where votes were being recounted
for the San Juan East district.
The seat was initially declared for
the People s National Movement
(PNM) on Monday, whose candidate
Raphael John won by nine votes.
The United National Congress
(UNC) candidate for the area, Pre-
mabhakti Samaroo-Dookan, called
for a recount which began on Tues-
day but was aborted after what
Samaroo-Dookan claimed was inter-
ference with the process.
The process began again at 10 am
yesterday but by evening groups of
supporters gathered outside of the
polling station on Railway Road,
Aranguez. The results were likely to
be announced last night.
UNC supporters were vocal with
their discontent and told the media
the voting process had been com-
promised by PNM officials, including
Nafeesa Mohammed, Diego Martin
North MP Colm Imbert and an
unnamed PNM lawyer being allowed
into the building.
A group of red T-shirt-clad, flag-
waving PNM supporters stood not
far away, among them, John s mother,
reading a bible.
In the building, John, Samaroo-
Dookan, their election agents, along
with Imbert and other officials, were
locked in with a police officer warn-
ing supporters to stay off the prem-
In a short interview Samaroo-
Dookan told the media she felt the
Elections and Boundaries Commis-
sion (EBC) showed a bias toward the
"We were being threatened by the
PNM candidate and his agent and
we saw officials of the EBC showing
a preference toward the PNM," she
She added that she felt she had
won in the district and the PNM was
trying to frustrate the process.
"If the EBC does not declare me
as victorious I am not going to let
anyone else have this seat because
the seat rightfully belongs to me,"
While Samaroo-Dookan spoke to
the media, Health Minister Fuad
Khan appeared on the scene and
entered the building.
A short while later, Imbert left the
building and spoke to PNM support-
ers asking them to go home. Khan
did the same moments later.
Speaking to media, Khan said he
had come to an agreement with
Imbert that everyone would leave
with the exception of the presiding
officer from the EBC, the candidates
and their election agents.
Imbert told the media his purpose
at the polling station was to bring
calm to a heated situation.
"I was asked to come and bring
peace to the whole thing. It was a
misunderstanding of the process by
both candidates. I don t think people
were sure of all the rules," he said.
Imbert said there was a misun-
derstanding as candidates thought
the recount would be the final count.
He said the issue was a lack of
experience on the part of both can-
didates. Imbert and Khan left the
polling station along with other offi-
cials. Supporters, however, despite
moving away from the premises
remained around corners, a short
Tension at San Juan recount
...PNM and UNC in intense standoff
Controversy is brewing over
just who won the Moruga elec-
toral district in the Princes Town
This after the People s National
Movement (PNM) candidate
Kenwyn Williams apparently
snatched victory out of the jaws
of defeat by 40 votes at the end
of last afternoon s recount in
However, United National
Congress s (UNC) candidate and
former Moruga councillor Phillip
Gonsalves, who was first told he
lost the district in Monday s local
government elections and then
told he actually won the district,
has requested another recount.
This second recount is likely
to take place tomorrow in Princes
Town before a different presiding
officer, one official said last night.
Williams was officially declared
the winner of Moruga electoral
district after Elections and
Boundaries Commission (EBC)
officials concluded their recount.
Gonsalves, who confirmed
Williams was declared the new
winner last afternoon, told the
T&T Guardian in a telephone
interview last night he was not
going to accept the results just
He said: "I am not conceding
just yet. They told me 105 ballots
of my voters were rejected or
spoiled. So much?
"I have been advised to go fur-
ther with this and I have request-
ed another recount. We need to
get the head of the EBC in this
and really find out what is going
on. I am not going to take that."
Gonsalves declined to com-
ment further until the second
recount was held.
An EBC official said the ballots
which were rejected were soiled
by red electoral ink or excess
black ink from the voting stamp.
Yesterday an EBC recount,
which ended at 6.30 pm, gave
Williams a 40-vote lead over
Gonsalves. The final total was
given as Williams 1,778 to Gon-
"It is the best birthday gift
ever," Williams, of La Lune,
Moruga, said last afternoon dur-
ing a telephone interview with
the T&T Guardian moments after
winning the electoral district.
Initially, Williams was declared
the winner of the seat on Monday
Controversy brewing over Moruga winner
and was even congratulated by his
opponent Gonsalves, 51, of Basse
However, Gonsalves was later
declared the official winner clenching
the electoral district 1,843 votes to
Williams 1,747 votes.
Williams contested Monday s
results and yesterday EBC officials
conducted a recount of the votes,
which was presided over by Azim
The PNM candidate could not con-
tain his excitement over his victory
as he praised God for the win.
He said he made a special birthday
on Saturday wish to win on Monday
but admitted he was disappointed
with the initial results.
With the official results now in his
favour Williams said yesterday he was
grateful and intended to hold a
thanksgiving service on the weekend.
"It feels great, it feels great after a
night and day of disappointment and
a lot heartache after the UNC was
declared the winner.
"But after a long day at the recount
and a lot of prayers... my prayers have
been answered. This is what I wished
for on Saturday," he said.
The father of two said when he
requested the recount, which was held
at the Princes Town #1 Presbyterian
Primary School, he was confident he
would have been declared the winner.
Colm Imbert...diffused situation.
Fuad Khan...reached agreement.
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