EBC CEO: Smooth local government by-elections so far

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

From left, Keith Roopnarine, Deonarine Roopnarine, and Yukti Cindy Roopnarine show their fingers after voting at the St Croix Community Centre, during the local government by-elections on June 17. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THE 2024 local government by-elections ran smoothly and without major incidents, according to initial reports from the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) chief elections officer Fern Narcis-Scope.

Her comments came during an interview with Newsday at the Princes Town EBC office on the afternoon of June 17 as by-elections were under way for the deadlocked Lengua/Indian Walk seat in the Princes Town Regional Corporation and the vacant Quinam/Morne Diablo seat in the Penal Debe Regional Corporation.

“So far we have had minimal reports of any irregularities.

“Polling stations opened at 6 am as expected and voting has been somewhat slow and steady in both electoral districts. I understand that we’re just around 20 per cent or so (of the) electorate, but as you know, customarily, the electorate is expected to pick up towards the afternoon.”

She said the main irregularity the EBC had received complaints about was that some candidates’ mock stations were too close to the polling stations.

“The police would have assisted in helping establish the 100-yard limit and interacted with whoever was in the mock polling station.”

Narcis-Scope had been visiting the two districts throughout the day and was moments away from another site visit when she spoke to Newsday. She thanked the police for helping secure voting sites and for the role they play in the electoral process.

Voters in the deadlocked Lengua/Indian Walk district also described the process as having gone smoothly. Returning to the polling stations were those who voted in the August 2024 election which ended in a tie between the PNM’s Autly Granthume and UNC’s Nicole Gopaul.

There were also some who did not vote in that election. Granthume and Gopaul are recontesting the seat, but are joined in the race by an independent candidate, Peterson Morales.