Friday 25 September, 2020

EBC: Nikoli Edwards did not flag concerns about party symbol

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) says political leader of the Progressive Party, Nikoli Edwards, failed to officially inform the body of an anomaly in the representation of his party’s symbol.

Edwards issued a statement on Tuesday criticising the EBC for using the wrong symbol on the ballot for the August 10 general election. He also expressed concern that voters may be confused by the image.

In response, the EBC said Edwards was shown the symbol that would be reproduced on the ballot paper for the electoral district he intends to contest. The Commission said this was done on both July 10 and July 17 during the pre-examination of nomination papers and on nomination day at the office of the returning officer.

“Mr Edwards raised no objection. Whilst it is the responsibility of the Government Printer to use the gazetted political symbols on the ballot papers, it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that their political symbol is correct in the process.”

Meanwhile, the EBC said despite the misprint, voters will not be confused about their choice.

“The EBC is confident that there will be no confusion on Poll Day as Mr Edward’s Progressive Party is contesting one seat and the symbol therefore only appears on the ballot papers for the electoral district of San Fernando West.”

Nikoli Edwards responds to EBC "mistruths"

Loop News reached out to Edwards following the EBC's press release and he denied being shown the symbol.

"On the 10th of July was when you presented your papers for pre-nomination day examination. At no point was the symbol shown to me then. On nomination day when I filed my nomination papers, I asked to see the list of all the symbols and when I saw our symbol, I raised it with the returning officer then and there that it was not the correct symbol. Beyond that, when we had the presentation of the ballots to special voters, we had two representatives of the party who attended that and when I asked them about the symbol, they said that the symbol was just the flame alone not with the words 'Progressive Party'."

Edwards further noted that a letter was sent to the EBC after a conversation was had with one of its representatives who advised him to do so. However, there was no response until now.

"I sent the letter on Saturday. I had not gotten a response so today we issued a press statement and the EBC decided to make a public release rather than respond to me directly or outline where the error was and liaise with us here at the Progressive Party. So they have now put us in a situation where we have to respond to their mistruths and it is quite unfortunate that on one end they are admitting that the responsibility falls on the Government Printer and that is where it should end. There should not be any but, how, maybe that says we failed to notify them. That is incorrect. They have an obligation to ensure that the symbols as approved by the EBC and the Government Printer and the Party would have been on the ballot paper."

The Progressive Party leader ended by noting that the EBC's website does not currently portray party symbols which he said further prevented them from verifying its accuracy.


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