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UNC accused of illegal canvassing
There were claims that United National Congress (UNC) activists were canvassing during the Chaguanas West by-election yesterday morning. People in the area said the activists, dressed in orange jerseys, were canvassing near polling stations. This is illegal on polling days. In fact, two men wearing orange were seen in a car in front of the polling station at the Charlieville Presbyterian School yesterday. When the T&T Guardian approached them about the canvassing allegations, one of them denied it while the other said: “No comment, no comment.” Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, who was walking out of the school at the time, also denied the allegation.
“No, no, no one is canvassing. I can assure you of that. There is no canvassing at all. It is illegal and therefore no one will be participating in that,” he said. Asked his purpose for being there, he added: “I am part of the UNC team. We are moving around to determine if there are any issues or problems and to give some support to our hard workers.” He said no issues had been brought to his attention. Gopeesingh also said he was not aware of an incident in which a voter was knocked down by one of the Attorney General’s security vehicles in Felicity.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Earl Gonzales, who was also at the school, said no reports of canvassing or irregularities had been brought to his attention and he had been visiting the polling stations. At 9.30 am, People’s National Movement candidate Avinash Singh, accompanied by Laventille East MP Donna Cox, emerged from the Felicity Hindu School after casting his vote.
He was the only candidate eligible to vote as the other candidates do not live in the constituency. He said: “It was extremely smooth, well prepared. Everything was in order. I think the presiding officer handled everything well. The voting is going smoothly inside.” He said he had not heard of any irregularities but heard of other incidents which he intended to personally investigate. Several other voters also were pleased with the process and had no complaints.
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