Former Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb told the Elections Petitions Court Friday afternoon that the type of plastic boxes used in the December 9, 2015, general elections were also used in the 2010 general elections and the referendum on the proposed new Constitution in 2009.
Findlay-Scrubb’s statement came as she was cross-examined by Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan during her oral testimony in an election petition filed by New Democratic Party’s (NDP) candidate Lauron Baptiste on December 31st, 2015, following the December 9, 2015, election in North Windward which saw the incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP) candidate Montgomery Daniel re-elected as North Windward MP and the said ULP returned to office in a narrow 8-7 margin.
Baptiste is seeking an order to declare the election void in the North Windward where Daniel was returned and declared duly elected.
The members of the opposition NDP have been criticizing the boxes in terms of their security following the 2015 elections.
Findlay-Scrubb told the court on Friday afternoon that for the 2009 referendum the political parties were invited to the sampled boxes. She was responding to a question by Astaphan.
Queen’s Counsel Stanley ‘Stalky’ John, the lead lawyer for the legal team representing NDP’s Central Leeward candidate Benjamin Exeter who filed an election petition on December 31st, 2015, following the December 9, 2015 election, asked that the question be struck from the court’s record because there was no pleading to it in the petition with regards to the supervisor of elections inviting representatives of the parties to view the boxes.
John said the information is neither “directly” nor “indirectly relevant.
Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, who is the leader of the legal teams representing the respondents, said
That in the 2009 referendum the political actors – the NDP and ULP – were quite happy to use those ballot boxes. He said the evidence of such is not rebutted. He said it is agreed in this country that those boxes have been accepted before, hence the relevance of Astaphan’s question.
Presiding Judge Justice Stanley John (the namesake of the petitioner’s lead counsel) expressed appreciation for Mendes’ submission.
Astaphan said his question was directly relevant as to whether the parties got the opportunity to view the sampled ballot boxes.
Justice John referred to paragraph 20 of Exeter’s petition. He said that during cross exam by Exeter’s lawyer, questions were asked concerning, among other things, the construction of the ballot boxes. He said that the central issue was whether the boxes used were in accordance with law.
The presiding Judge said therefore that the question by Astaphan could not be said to be irrelevant and he was therefore allowing the question.