(Trinidad Guardian) United National Congress (UNC) members came out in full support of incumbent chairman Jack Warner and resoundingly voted in his favour. The members have spoken, even though the voter turnout was low. Warner, who is back to serve as the party’s chairman for another term, whipped his lone rival attorney Ashvani Mahabir, claiming a landslide victory. Mahabir was optimistic of unseating Warner and even questioned his leadership style up to Friday. Also making a clean sweep in yesterday’s internal elections was the Nationalists slate led by Dr Roodal Moonilal. San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray who vied for the position as one of three political leaders on the Nationalists slate also emerged victorious. Sixty-three candidates vied for 16 positions on the party’s national executive.
Moonilal last night confirmed with Sunday Guardian that his slate of 16 was in a comfortable position. He also confirmed that Warner had won his position “comfortably.” “We have won in Pointe-a-Pierre. We are leading in San Fernando, Siparia, Mayaro, Couva North/South, Oropouche East/West and in Fyzabad. We are very optimistic because at this point, it is looking like a clean sweep,” Moonilal said shortly before 9 pm. Trailing behind were Generation Next supported by founder of the UNC Basdeo Panday and UNC Soldiers led by UNC activist Sunil Ramjitsingh. Meanwhile, thousands of voters stayed away from the polls, recording an all-time low turnout. Out of the approximately 81,000 registered voters listed to vote in the elections only 15,000 came out to vote, reports indicated around 7 pm yesterday.
Chairman of the elections committee Kemchand Ramdath confirmed with Sunday Guardian that around 20 per cent of the registered voters exercised their franchise. The preliminary voting list was published on February 28 at various district offices allowing voters an opportunity to see if they were eligible to vote. However, there were rampant reports of irregularities at various polling stations yesterday. In several instances, Sunday Guardian understands some voters claiming to be lifetime members of the UNC were turned away after their names were not on the voting list. At the Waterloo High School, many found that their names and that of their relatives were not on the list. Similar complaints were registered at the Aranguez Government Secondary School.