BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 9th October 2020)- Parliamentary Representative for Constituency One (East Basseterre) of the opposition St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) Dr. Geoffrey Hanley says he is disappointed that images of rejected ballots of the June 2020 General Elections, in the ongoing election petition court matter, have been shared via social media.
In an exclusive interview with this media house, he commented: “I was very, very disappointed that even before the matter would have been concluded in the court, information that should have been kept confidential would have been shared in the social media, that is, the rejected ballots. That, to me, should have never happened but of course we’re dealing with people; we don’t know who but I believe one day we’ll find out who.”
Dr. Hanley made such comments while on the topic of a recent court appearance concerning an election petition filed against him by his political opponent Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd of the People’s Action Movement (PAM), following a judge ordered recounting of the ballots and re-examining the rejected ballots conducted at the high court on Friday 2nd October 2020.
The order was given by High Court Judge Justice Trevor Warde on Friday 25th September, and come Friday 16th October, a ruling is expected.
Following the Friday 5th June General Elections, newcomer Dr. Hanley was declared the winner with 1658 votes while Liburd got 1634. Some 98 rejected ballots were rejected.
Dr. Hanley, in further addressing images of rejected ballots being shared on social media, stated: “Going forward, much more must be put in place to ensure that these things don’t happen -from either side- because it is not a good reflection on the system and I know we should have a strong system here.”
Asked what he thinks the aim of leaking the ballots was about, he said: “I think it might have been to confuse the general public. Maybe there might have been some attempt of wanting to tamper to create something else different in the minds of the people but maybe they recognize that they couldn’t have gotten it done so they say nonetheless let them release [the images] so that people could have their own interpretation of what they are seeing.”
While Dr. Hanley chose not to give specific details on the ongoing court matter, he spoke confidently of being victorious on the subject of the rejected ballots.
“I saw them (images) on social media and I was shocked and I also saw several comments from persons who would have indicated that ‘Anywhere you turn it, Geoffrey would still beat him’ so I don’t know if that was a part of it to probably ease some of the pain that some of their supporters might have been going through rather than waiting 16th of October when we should appear back in court…I believe that was part of it.”
About his experience as a newcomer to the political arena, he said: “The journey has been a very rewarding one thus far although there might have been challenges that would have been attached to the journey but because of my personality and my strength and willingness to pursue no matter what, I would have embraced all of those challenges because having the faith that I have in God, I know that He would never leave me and He would give me the necessary strength that I need to conquer.”
He continued: “I am now at a point where the decision of the June 5th General Elections would have been challenged. All throughout, I have never been nervous or worried over it for several reasons. Back to my faith in God and because I have a personal relationship with Him, He never starts something and doesn’t complete it so I knew from then this challenge that I am currently facing is one that I would pass.”
Meanwhile, Liburd appearing on his weekly ZIZ radio programme ‘Straight Talk’ aired on Monday 5th October, told listeners that “lots of things have happened” regarding the court matter. He also stated that his “heart and mind are at peace” and talked about his faith in God.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with numerous telephone calls, emails and messages via other social media in relation to my election petition but I want to apprise you of the fact that this matter is still before the court so I do not intend to entertain any discussion whatsoever as it relates to the case and just to let you know that the matter is still before the court and …lots of things have happened and I don’t really want to mention those things but it will be suffice just to say to thank all of my well-wishers and in particular my Warriors from the East, also my myriad of supporters in St.Kitts and in Nevis, and beyond.”
“Let me reassure you my people of one thing…I’m a man of faith and God has been merciful unto me throughout my life whenever I called upon Him, and during my lifetime, I have had to deal with serious circumstances, worse circumstances than this one and it was nothing else but the grace of God that brought me through. Who knows, it may turn out better because I’ve always put my faith in the higher power,” he added.