Cross-examination of Stanley Singh ends
Admits serious flaw in announcement of presidency
By William Walker
April 5, 2000
Chief Election Officer, Stanley Singh yesterday admitted that the January 19 announcement of the presidency with less than half the votes verified was a serious flaw.
Senior Counsel Rex McKay, representing PNC leader Desmond Hoyte, returning to cross-examine the CEO, started with an ultimately unsuccessful foray into why Saphier Hussain's National Independent Party (NIP) received votes in the regional elections when they were not on the ballot papers. The CEO, in another of his now familiar explanations shed absolutely no light on why it had happened or how many votes the NIP had won, except to say it was "human error". McKay could only observe that the witness was a master contortionist.
McKay then had the CEO read out the number of votes for Region Four--200,295 out of a total for the country of 461,415. McKay, noted that it was a little less than half. The CEO could not give a figure as to how many votes had been verified by January 19, when Chairman of the Elections Commission, Doodnauth Singh, announced the presidency and "stabbed you all over" added McKay who said that the announcement with less than half the votes verified was a serious flaw.
The witness agreed. But he denied that the verification process was used to sort out the forged statements of poll (SOP). Rather, he said, it was used by the "Elections Commission to confirm the results from the field."
McKay: "Yes man, to confirm the rewritten SOPs. Isn't that the same thing? ...you were making declarations from rewritten SOPs. Those SOPs were unlawful. So you were making unlawful declarations?" The witness could only agree with such logic.
McKay had completed his examination leaving the stage to Saphier Hussain, leader of the NIP.
Hussain: "You are aware that elections results in the United States have to be declared within 48 hours?"
The CEO: "By hearsay yes, but I've never had the opportunity..." The witness said he and his management team were ready to declare the results but were stopped by "interference from the Elections Commission."
Hussain then asked the witness if he knew that to change a place of poll a few days before an election was illegal.
The witness disagreed, stating: naming a place of poll needs to be done 14 days before the election yes "but your logic would suggest that if a polling place burnt down no one could vote."
Counsel could only reach for his law book and read the section on the naming of polling sites where he discovered that the requirement was in fact 20 days before elections.
The CEO grinned on the stand.
His cross-examination complete, the witness could now be re-examined by his attorneys. However, both Hubert Rodney and Senior Counsel Doodnauth Singh, who was said to be in Trinidad, were absent from court, which McKay said showed how lightly they were taking the case against their client.
Court will resume today. The elections petition was brought by Esther Perreira on the grounds that the process was so flawed as to be unable to accurately reflect the will of the people.