Smooth Nomination Day in Tobago
By SEAN DOUGLAS Tuesday, January 1 2013
REPORTS are that all went well in yesterday’s Nomination Day for the January 21 THA election, according to leaders of the three political parties contesting, plus the four returning officers of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
All of the three political parties — Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Platform for Truth (PFT) — are contesting each of the 12 seats.
THA chief secretary and PNM leader in Tobago Orville London, told Newsday that as far as he was aware all of his party candidates had submitted their nomination papers properly. “We had a dry run last week, so there is very little chance that anything would have gone awry,” London said.
TOP leader Ashworth Jack, said, “The nomination of our candidates went extremely smoothly. It was finished before 12 noon.” PFT leader Hochoy Charles told Newsday the party’s nominations had been submitted smoothly, although one candidate from a “far east” area was still submitting his form after lunch, much later than the others. “The nominations went as smooth as oil on water,” said an ebullient Charles. “There’s still one to return.”
But Jack was not a happy man yesterday. “The only concern our candidates had was nothing to do with nominations. For the past 12 to 24 hours, PNM members have been defacing and pulling down almost every poster we have put up in almost every village across Tobago,” Jack said.
He called names of top members of the PNM whom he alleged were seen pulling down TOP posters in Mason Hall. “We’d prefer not to have that,” Jack said, warning that the situation could escalate if the TOP were to retaliate by pulling down PNM posters.
Jack alleged that on Sunday in Goodwood, the car of a TOP supporter which was decorated in TOP regalia was targetted by a PNM supporter who threw PNM posters onto the windscreen of the TOP supporter’s car.
“We appeal to the leadership of the PNM to have their people exercise some control. We don’t want it to escalate, as that would make no sense to anyone,” said Jack. “It’s one thing to want to win an election, but it’s another to descend to these depths to which the PNM are doing. I don’t want our (TOP) people to react, but there’s only so much one can take,” Jack warned.
Returning officer Esther Benjamin, confirmed that nomination day had gone smoothly, for the three seats of Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden, Plymouth/Golden Lane and Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah. Benjamin said she got nominations from the three main parties only, and none from any other fourth party or independent candidate.
Michael Robley, returning officer for Goodwood/Belle Garden West, Parlatuvier/L’anse Fourmi/Speyside, and Belle Garden East/Roxborough/Delaford, told Newsday, “Yes, it’s gone smoothly.”
Asked if he got any fourth party or independent candidates outside of the three main parties, he replied, “I’ve had none”. Returning officer, Allan Winchester, said nomination day had gone smoothly in his seats of Bacolet/Mount St George, Lambeau/Signal Hill, and Scarborough/Calder Hall. He said, “No problems, no problems whatsoever.” He said nominations were made by the PNM, TOP and PFT, but no other candidate.
Returning officer, Rawle Mitchell, said nominations went “very, very smoothly” in his areas of Bethel/Mount Irvine, Buccoo/Mount Pleasant, and Canaan/Bon Accord. He too said he’d only received nominations from the three parties, but no fourth candidate.