Confusion reigns in the final recount for the Grand Fond Constituency with conflicting statements coming from both candidates who contested the seat in the just concluded general election.
The matter could eventually end up in the court.
Preliminary results had shown that the Dominica Labour Party’s (DLP), Ivor Stephenson beating his rival, Thomson Fontaine of the United Workers Party (UWP) by 617 to 605.
At a recount, which started at 9:00 am on December 9th and which went late into the evening, a winner was yet to be declared.
However, Stephenson said on state-owned DBS Radio on Wednesday morning that the recount shows that he is the clear winner by eight votes.
“Up to last night when we left the final count was Ivor Stephenson 622, Thomson Fontain 614,” he said on Wednesday morning.
He said no indications were given that the count would continue today (Wednesday).
During the recount, tempers flared as lawyers for Fontaine questioned decisions to reject ballots placed cast for him which was deemed “legitimate” but was being rejected by the returning and assistant returning officer.
Fontaine labeled the move as “injustice” and vowed to “fight on”.
“I will not allow them to openly steal this seat,” he stated. “They have tried all, brought in people to vote and seeing that it went against them, now they are trying their second option all in an attempt not to have me in parliament.”
He described the entire matter as injustice.
“This is injustice to the highest order, what is going on in this country,” he stated. “There were stubs which were still on the ballots which should not have happened. I am in disbelief at what transpired. I got angry at the returning officer who taught me at school and her blatant behavior. It seems clear to me that she was working in conjunction with Lennox Lawrence of the DLP to try to have me lose that seat.”
Fontain also questioned the absence of the Chief Elections Officer, Steven LaRocque, at the recount saying his presence is “crucial.”
“I am for fair play and justice, and we need an investigation into the behavior of Fedelia Carbon and Gweneth Anslem (returning officers) over the wide spread fraud and irregularities. They should pay because what they did was wrong, there should be a price to pay for that,” he stated.
He said the matter might end up in the courts.
But Stephenson is insisting he is the winner saying that the Electoral Office should have made moves to have “a balance situation with respect to what occurred in the counting of the vote yesterday.”
He stated that if Fontain wants to challenge the results in the courts, “that is left to him.”
“I know that his lawyers were representing him and the final at the last count last night was Ivor Stephenson 622 and Thomson Fontaine, 614,” Stephenson said.