ILP admits buying $25,000 phone cards
By Andre Bagoo Wednesday, October 23 2013
INTERIM deputy political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Lyndira Oudit yesterday said the party needed thousands of mobile phones in order to allow its election agents to communicate on election day as she said $25,000 in phone cards was bought.
Oudit dismissed as “mind-boggling” the allegation of a “phones for votes” scam which has been referred to the police.
“Communication back to operation centre is key to operations on any election day,” she said, commenting on the allegations. “Those statements about the phones are such comical statements.
“When you consider that you had over 134 candidates and for every candidate between ten to 12 polling agents you can easily come up with more than 1,300 phones for polling agents. You give these phones to agents so that they can call in and report back to operations centre.
“That cannot be a scam. It boogles my mind that people can grab on to this idea.” She said the procurement of the phones — a total of which she did not give — was for the purpose of the use of polling agents and said about $25,000 in phone cards was purchased. “How can people look at that amount and find that to be a scam?” she said. “Just think of how much in phone-credit you spend on a particular day.”
She counter-alleged there were other procedural irregularities and that the Government had used State resources to campaign. She said these matters had been formally reported to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC). Asked how the ILP funded its own expenses, Oudit suggested the money came from party founder and interim political leader Jack Warner.
“Mr Warner is a businessman par excellence,” she said. “He has been in business longer than some of us have been alive. He did not have State funding for this campaign.”
Asked where the funding came from, she said, “political support comes in all forms and fashions: sponsorships. Mr Warner has a variety of businesses and if his investment is in this party then that is his choice.”
Notwithstanding the ILP’s failure to get a single corporation, Oudit said she thought the party did well when compared with the competition it was up against. She said the UNC is in Government and the PNM is a 50-year-old party. Oudit said she remains committed to contesting for the post of deputy political leader when the ILP gets around to holding its inaugural party convention.
“I don’t see any reason not to,” she said.