PAM says release of NGO Report was timed to filing of Grant’s election petition

PAM’s defeated Glenroy Blanchette

ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 26TH 2010 (CUOPM) – The opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) said the release of the controversial NGO-Election Report was timed to coincide with the filing of the party’s election petition in the High Court.

Defeated PAM candidate for St. Christopher 1, Mr. Glenroy Blanchette made the disclosure at a party political meeting at Maynard’s Park, Cayon last Sunday night.

Independent and political analysts are of the view that the NGO Coalition Report authored by the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the St. Kitts Evangelical Association and the St. Kitts Christian Council, specifically targets Prime Minister and Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas as none of the written and known reports submitted to the NGO group on incidents involving opposition candidates are documented in the Report.

The NGO Coalition Report was released simultaneously with the filing of the Election Petition in the High Court by Mr. Grant challenging the results of the election in St. Christopher 4.

“I am so proud of the NGO-Coalition. I am so proud of Bishop Ron Collins for standing up for justice in this country. We must lift him up in our prayers and I am saying to you that the real issue is not Ron Collins. Denzil Douglas is aware that the NGO Coalition Report is material evidence in the Lindsay Grant election petition case. That is why he is trying to quash that Report, but that Report is already final. It cannot be changed again and for Lindsay Grant will win his seat in #4,” said Blanchette.

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has described “false and malicious” a section of the local St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Evangelical Association and Christian Council Election Report on the just conclude poll.

He told a Press Conference that the section of the NGO Report “is false, it is malicious and in my opinion it has been deliberately put as part of the political agenda of members of the coalition who seem to have a political agenda that they are pursuing for the PAM party that has lost the elections on the 25th day of January 2010.”

Dr. Douglas pointed out that representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Commonwealth and OAS observer groups paid courtesy calls on the Prime Minister as the Minister responsible in the government for elections prior to the elections and after the conduct of the poll, discussed the preliminary report “and asked questions and make comments for clarification.”

“On matters that were unclear to them, they sought clarification and such was given,” said Dr. Douglas.

He told the media that it was strange that he as the Prime Minister living in St. Kitts and Nevis “do not even know who was heading the NGO coalition that sought to monitor our election. I do not even know whether they had the common courtesy to even send a copy of their report and it appears to be not even a preliminary report but a final report to me the Prime Minister or even sought to have any discussion with me on any matter that needed to be clarified,”

Prime Minister Douglas also categorically denied speaking to a military officer while he was in Constituency #4.

“I want to make a very clear statement this afternoon on the section of the report that you mentioned. It is not only false, it is malicious and deliberately, so I believe; because if someone reported that the Prime Minister appear to be disruptive, what is so difficult for a member of the coalition team to come and meet with me and say Mr. Prime Minister this matter was reported by one of the NGO observers, could you give us any response to exactly why you were in Half Way Tree? If you were seen speaking to a military officer – and that did not even happen. Why were you speaking to a military officer?”

Prime Minister Douglas was of the very strong view that for the NGO coalition to simply take someone’s reporting which is false and which is a lie and put it into a document that appears to be a final document as a report of their assessment of the elections as monitors “it is terribly, terribly bad.”

“I want to say today in this conference that the section that you quoted from is false, it is malicious and in my opinion, it has been deliberately put as part of the political agenda of members of the coalition who seemed to have the political agenda that they are pursuing for the PAM party that has lost the elections on the 25th day January 2010,” said Dr. Douglas.

The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party with 60 percent of the popular vote won 6 of the 8 seats on St. Kitts in the 11-member St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly.

Prime Minister Douglas in an opening statement noted that international, regional, and local observers viewed the Federal elections favorably.

“CARICOM observers arrived at polling stations before they opened, witnessed the voting process, saw the closing of the polls, and remained to witness the count. They reported that voters ‘were able to cast their ballots without intimidation or harassment.’, and that ‘the voting and counting of ballots took place in a transparent manner, with all…..local, regional, and international observers given approval to witness the count.’

Kittitians and Nevisians, CARICOM observers noted, ‘showed up at the polls, even as it rained, in order to elect the government of their choice’,” said Dr. Douglas.

He noted that the Organization of American States (OAS) observers reported that ‘presiding officers, poll clerks, and party agents were present at their assigned sites and followed procedures diligently in accordance with election laws….[that] sufficient electoral materials were available in all polling stations…and the secrecy of the ballot was maintained……[They reported that ] safeguards to avoid double voting and voter misrepresentation were in place…..[and that]……police were present in all of the polling sites, efficiently and unobtrusively maintaining security…..[Where] citizens became agitated’ they stated, ‘…..police and the St. Kitts-Nevis Defense Force effectively and peacefully controlled these potentially volatile situations’.”

Prime Minister Douglas also pointed out that the Evangelical Association, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and the Christian Council concluded in their joint observer report, that ‘it was generally agreed that the elections were conducted in a free and fair manner in most instances.’

“Validating my Government’s steady insistence that the electoral boundaries in this Federation must be changed, the OAS is urging that ‘the boundary question be addressed as soon as possible.’ The Secretary General of the OAS noted that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis exercised their civil responsibility ‘in a free manner’ and …’in a calm and dignified atmosphere’ – a fitting tribute to the people of the Federation,” Dr. Douglas told reporters.

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