Politician Odinga Lumumba has been sued for $200,000 following a polling day incident that left a Presiding Officer with injuries to her back and an Electoral Assistance Bureau (EAB) observer with a damaged cell phone.
According to a writ prepared and filed by attorney Nigel Hughes yesterday, Onika Beckles is claiming damages in excess of $100,000 for trespass; damages in excess of $100,000 for slander committed by Lumumba; exemplary damages and costs.
Stabroek News has been unable to make contact with the EAB observer who was compensated for the damaged phone several days after the incident.
A traumatized Beckles had recounted to this newspaper that she had refused a PPP/C observer entry into her polling station at Lot 455 Aubrey Barker Street, South Ruimveldt, without identification and moments later Lumumba turned up with three other men.
She said the politician immediately began to verbally abuse a policewoman who was securing the gate. Beckles then went to him to explain what had transpired and while speaking to her in an aggressive tone, she alleged, Lumumba pushed her into a grill door. During the commotion, Beckles said, Lumumba grabbed the cellular phone the observer was using to record the episode and threw it to the ground.
The woman later obtained a medical from the Georgetown Hospital, which showed she had indeed sustained an injury to the back. A report was then made to the police.
Lumumba in his defence had said that the episode was an accident and that he had pushed the woman to get past her since as a party candidate he had a right to be in the polling station.
He said that he was unaware that the woman sustained an injury. He has since replaced the EAB observer’s damaged cell phone.
Fr Malcolm Rodrigues, Chairman of the EAB, had said that the incident was “quite disturbing” and warranted a lawyer’s letter.