Security Chiefs issue joint press statement on the NGO Coalition report on the 25 January 2010 Federal Elections
Deputy Police Commissioner Liburd and Commander of Defence Force Wallace (file photo)
ZIZ News…March 2, 2010 – The Security Chiefs of the Federation have condemned an election report issued by the Non Governmental Organizations under the umbrella of the Evangelical Association, Christian Council and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
In a statement issued to the media it read that the Security Chiefs of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis would like to record their appreciation to those members of the security forces who were instrumental in assisting with the peaceful outcome of the General Elections, held on the January 25, 2010. Residents and national eligible to vote, went to the polls in exercise of their constitutional right to elect a government of their choice. The joint deployment of the security forces island wide, contributed significantly to the maintenance of law and order, the preservation of the peace and helped to avert disruptions (planned or spontaneous ) which were perpetrated with criminal intentions.
It is ironic, that while the foreign observers endeavoured to be objective, the local NGO Coalition report sorts to belittle the efforts of the security forces to preserve the peace and integrity of the election process on Election Day.
In light of and considering the erroneous and subjective pronouncements by the local observer entity the NGO Coalition whose intent is clearly to misrepresent the truth, the Security Forces wish to state categorically that on no occasion was there any deliberate altercation between themselves and the voting public, notwithstanding the attempts by certain political elements to disrupt the free and fair conduct of the voting process.
The Defence Force Commander denounces the allegation by the NGO Collation that on polling day members of the Defence Force were deployed to Constituency 4 “in riot gear and toting M16 rifles.” He wishes to state categorically that soldiers of the Force did not wear riot gear on polling day, nor were they deployed with M16 rifles for duties associated with the elections during the period of polling on Election Day.
The Defence Force Commander further denounces the NGO Coalition allegation that the candidate for Constituency 6 berated members of the Force for failing to transport Labour Party supporters to vote in Constituencies 4 and 5 as a blatant lie, and also condemn the NGOs Coalition Observers’ accusation that military vehicles were used to transport voters on Election Day’ as malicious.
The NGO Coalition report goes on to state that “Major concerns were raised by a number of voters and security personnel about the disruption of the poll in constituency 4 by the presence of the Labour Party candidate for Constituency 6” and that “Dr. Denzil Douglas was responsible, in large measure for the prolong interruption of traffic flow in and out of Half Way Tree…”
The above quote from the NGO Coalition report is an unfortunate assumption that the representative of Constituency 6 who was himself inconvenienced by the slow flow of traffic along the island main road on polling day and who had to walk eastward along the main road to the location where the Labour Party agents were positioned, was responsible for the situation. It must be noted that his official vehicle had to travel over the same “treacherous terrain in the farmlands of Half Way Tree” area mentioned in the report to avoid the traffic congestion that he is being accused of deliberately creating.
The Commissioner of Police who was in Halfway Tree, can attest to the fact that at no material time was the Labour Candidate for Constituency No 6 the cause of any traffic congestion as this was a challenge faced by the Security Forces at various locations throughout the district, and further, there was no disruption of the polls due to the presence of the Labour Party leader or for any other reason. The Commissioner of Police will further attest that most of the “altercations” experienced in Constituency 4 on Election Day were direct results of activists of the main Opposition Party and that he had to intervene on many occasions to placate that group of boisterous bystanders. The report of the NGOs Coalition in this regard is pure fabrication and does not represent the actual facts.
The Security Forces are alarmed at the irresponsible behaviour of this NGO Coalition and condemn its report — a document which can only be described as malevolent — and questions the intent of the composite groups who claimed to have an interest in fairness, safety and security. On Election Day the presence of the security forces was a welcome relief for those voters who were taunted while attempting to exercise their franchise, even while certain members of the NGO Coalition made no effort to dissuade this unacceptable behaviour. It is our contention that the NGO Coalition report is nothing but a smoke screen to facilitate some hidden Agenda. The Security Forces have no choice but to demand the total retraction of the numerous documentation of falsehood and malicious reporting of allegations.