The opposition New National Party (NNP) has accused Prime Minister Tillman Thomas of demonstrating a lack of interest in some machines that were allegedly stolen recently at the St. Paul’s Office of the Parliamentary Electoral Office.
Speaking at a press conference called by the NNP on Monday, St. Mark’s Member of Parliament, Clarice Modeste-Curwen said that the issue has been raised in Parliament on several times but the Prime Minister has not responded to it in a very positive manner.
She told reporters that PM Thomas has prided himself as the most democratic individual in the world and as such, he is duty-bound to respond in a positive way to the complaint.
“The Prime Minister needs to do something, but I look at his whole attitude when we raise it in Parliament, he’s like nothing is wrong … his whole attitude is like we in a play pen, we just playing”, said Modeste-Curwen.
“…We have raised the concern, the action rests squarely in the courts of the Prime Minister. He really needs to look at what needs to be done in the interest of this country”, she added.
According to the female MP, the opposition is concerned over what they believe is the “silence that covers the issue of the stolen machine”.
The NNP officials attending the press conference told reporters that the party has written to Commissioner of Police, Willan Thompson as well as to the Office of the Governor General, Sir Carlyle Glean on the issue but is yet to receive a response.
Attorney-at-Law and Opposition Senator, Dwight Horsford said that the manner in which the issue is being treated is disconcerting.
Horsford stressed that the issue is not only of grave concern but one of national importance as the unknown whereabouts of the machines could result in the interference of voters’ information.
As general elections loom nearer (2013), the opposition spokesman said all political parties in the country need to know that there is a level playing field.
NNP’s Caretaker for the Town of St George, Nicholas Steele, commented on a recent trip to St Lucia to observe the functioning of their electronic voter machines.
According to Steele, a businessman by profession, there are no problems being encountered there like what is taking place with the Grenada system.
He said the NNP visiting team discovered that the missing voter machine can affect the integrity of the system and that those concerns have been expressed to foreign embassies including the British High Commission and the Organisation of American States (OAS), all of whom have vested interest in the country’s electoral process.
The NNP is also said to be concerned that despite the Electoral Office’s promise to facilitate disabled and elderly citizens to register to vote, this has not been done.
The party claimed that if a snap general election is called that only 50% of the population is registered to vote.
The Opposition also alleged that copies of the updated voter registration lists have not been given to them by the Electoral Office for perusal and called for this to be rectified soon.
Supervisor of Elections, Judy Benoit has confirmed the robbery of two computer Central Processing Units, two scanners and two cameras from the St. Paul’s Office.
Benoit said the lost of the equipment was restricted to the offices that deal with voter registration and that would not interfere with the staging of free and fair elections since the theft only slowed down voter registration in the North East and South East Constituencies but not the rest of the country.
The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) was called in to investigate the matter.