PORT-OF-SPAIN Trinidad (CARIBUPDATE/NOV 30, 2016) - Recounts are being done in six electoral areas in north and south Trinidad, according to five requests from the Opposition United National Congress and one from the ruling People’s National Movement yesterday.
UNC chairman David Lee confirmed that recounts were being sought for one seat in Tunapuna/Piarco, one in San Juan/Laventille, two in Sangre Grande and one in Mayaro/Rio Claro.
The Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) also confirmed the PNM had requested a recount for one seat in the Princes Town Corporation.
Recounts in Tunapuna/Piarco, San Juan/Laventille and Mayaro/Rio Claro began yesterday and recounts will start in the two Sangre Grande seats at 9 am today.
However, UNC’s Mayaro MP Rushton Parray confirmed last evening that the recount in Mayaro/Rio Claro, where they challenged the Cocal/Mafeking seat, still went in the PNM’s favour so the overall 5-1 result remained the same.
UNC attorneys communicated yesterday with the Returning Officers for the seats in question, requesting the recount.
Lee said the UNC is challenging results for another seat in Tunapuna where their candidate lost by just 16 votes and for the Barataria seat in San Juan/Laventille.
Sangre Grande recount today follows Monday’s tie where both the PNM and UNC received four seats. The UNC is seeking recounts in the seats of Sangre Grande North East and North West which it lost. Lee said one UNC candidate lost a seat by just 45 votes.
“The PNM is very presumptious to declare victory there,” Lee added, noting PNM chairman Franklin Khan’s claim on the Sangre Grande corporation yesterday.
In Monday’s election results, the PNM retained several of its corporations, winning seven. The UNC retained its previous six, but gained several other seats.
Following Monday’s outcome, the UNC held a celebratory motorcade in Chaguanas, a battleground UNC retained. Members partied into the early hours of yesterday to deejay music. Around 1.30 am, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar addressed a meeting of several hundred supporters, sticking to a campaign promise to return.
On election night, Persad-Bissessar had claimed the UNC had taken “12”PNM seats. Lee detailed some of the seats UNC won.
“In Couva we recovered California/Pt Lisas, which we lost in 2013 to the PNM. So we now control the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Corporation outright. In Chaguanas, we now have five seats as opposed to the four we won in 2013. The PNM has three,” he said.
“What is significant is we got the seat of Valsayn/St Joseph, which involves Elizabeth Gardens and other St Joseph areas.”
He said UNC had one seat in San Juan/Laventille and won another on Monday. In Sangre Grande, he said the UNC picked up two more seats in addition to the ones it held.
“One of the new seats we got was in Manzanilla held by the PNM. In Princes Town we re-took the Moruga seats won by PNM in 2013. We won Penal/Debe and Siparia outright.”
On UNC’s election strategy, Lee said, “Planned and led by Mrs Persad-Bissessar, it was simply going back to the ‘ground’ and meeting people. Similar to what she did for the 2015 internal election which she won.
She walked daily, everywhere. She went to Sangre Grande three times.
“In our heartland areas, like Siparia and Chaguanas, we saw a 40 per cent voter turnout, but we noticed there was a 23 per cent turnout in some East-West corridor areas.”
He added, “We didn’t use much advertising.
We were hardly in the media, we had a shoestring budget.”
RECOUNT IN PRINCES TOWN TOO
The Elections and Boundaries Commission has also received a request from the People’s National Movement (PNM) for a recount in Hindustan/St Mary’s, EBC chief elections officer Ramesh Nanan said.
That seat is part of the Princes Town corporation where the Opposition United National Congress won majority seats.
Nanan declined comment on the PNM’s declaration of victory in Sangre Grande.
He said, “Our business now is that we have four days to inform the parties of the number of aldermen allocated to parties.
Thereafter they’ll inform EBC of aldermen they recommend and the EBC will in turn inform the CEOs of the respective corporations.”