By Caribbean News Global contributor
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – Some polling stations in St Kitts opened nearly two hours late on election day, Friday, June 5, while scores of voters though frustrated, were adamant to exercise their constitutional rights to do so.
WINNFM senior broadcast journalist Ken Richards reported the late start at five polling stations at the Kim Collins Stadium in St Christopher 1, where Jermaine Lake, the brother in law of prime minister Dr Timothy Harris is the Returning Officer who was observed setting tables and chairs minutes to 9:00 am. Polling was scheduled to begin at 7:00 a.m.
At 8:45 a.m., one male voter told WINNFM: “I am still waiting to vote. I Am resolved to stay here and am not moving until I vote. This is rubbish. I am standing in line since six o clock and the prime minister’s brother in law (Jermaine Sacky Lake just went in half an hour ago with table and chairs,” adding, “there was a slight shower and persons had to give some assistance to senior citizens.”
“No one has told us anything. You can ask the authorities inside there. Everybody out here waiting. They are trying to get the people frustrated so they can go back and not vote. I am not moving today, but I am resolved to stay here until I cast my X,” he said.
Another male voter who was also standing in line from six o clock said there was no labelling as to guide voters to any of the five stations.
“They have just brought out the ballot box to show to people. It is just totally disorganized. This is ridiculous. This has never happened in any election before,” said the individual who told WINNM “As far we know the persons who were trained were all rejected by the government and replaced with new people. ”
A female voter said she had been waiting for nearly three hours. “No one has told us anything. We are going by hearsay as to where we should stand. Not even a sign on the door and they just brought out the ballot box to show us that it is empty.”
Meanwhile, street sense and sensibility, walking on the bright side “ Dr Timothy Harris go win his Constituency (No. 7) because those people there so damn stupid but he will lose because of all the teething and giving his family big-money work,” said a pedestrian in Basseterre.
Walked further in the streets of Basseterre there seemed a disconcerting mix of feelings, even from the same people. For the majority, the jaunty steps and big smiles, the willingness to stop and talk politics, the upbeat effervescence that something big was about to happen, was offset by concern and some fear that the Team Unity government had a bag of dirty tricks up its sleeves and was prepared to steal the elections.
“I don’t trust them,” one older man who pulled me off the street into a sheltered alcove and spoke in hushed tones said. “You see how they don’t want the Organisation of American States (OAS) and they bring the (RRS) regional army? They will teeth the election!”
A schoolboy I stopped, who claimed to be from Constituency No.2, admitted that he was hoping the labour candidate, Marcella Liburd would win but also had some fears about a Team Unity coup, “She is a good representative. She supports sports, especially football. And the man she up against, Jonel (Powell), he and his partner Lindsay (Grant) they in trouble. I think they will be banned from law. But they desperate and they will do anything to win.”
As I walked through the streets to hearty “Good Mornings” and big smiles, it reminded me very much of the 2010 elections when Dr Douglas won his third term as prime minister. There was a buzz and mood of anticipation, a getting-ready-to-party feel in the city.
Two bus-men, waiting for passengers at the roundabout, called me, “You here to report?” “Yes,” I responded. “Well report that Harris all set to thief the election but we will not allow it,” a burly one said. The other smiled, “Is Dougie (the “pet name” for Dr Denzil Douglas) back again and he will give everybody $3,000 as a start to help us out. Business has been bad and life really terrible. Every little bit will help.”
“What will happen to Dr Harris if he fails to win?” I asked. The burly one replied quickly, “Who? Mr Big Stuff? He put away enough but he will have a hard time here. He not like Sam (Condor). We take back Sam but not Mr Big Stuff.”