Re-United Farmers Threatens EBC with Legal Action

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE Re-United Famers Alliance is threatening legal action against the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) for not allowing two of its candidates to file their nomination papers because of an issue with the party’s symbol.

A farmer with an ox and plough is the symbol for the Re-United Famers Alliance that is contesting the Local Government Election (LGE) in an accommodation with the Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP).

From left are PEP chairman Felicia Holder, PEP political leader Phillip Alexander shaking hands with Davica Thomas, of the Re-United Farmers and Pundit Donny Samlal at a press conference on June 14. AZP News/Prior Beharry

Political leader of the Re-United Farmers Alliance Davica Thomas claims that the candidates were not allowed to file their nomination papers on June 26 in certain constituencies due to the returning officers not having a copy of the party’s symbol in their submission.

“Our party symbol was duly registered and gazetted by the EBC itself,” Thomas said at a press conference on Friday along with PEP political leader Phillip Alexander in Port of Spain.

She described the situation as “a mischievous position adopted by the EBC” and that a pre-action protocol letter has been sent by their attorneys which the EBC has seven days to respond to.

The EBC in its guidance note as of June 15, 2023, listed the Re-United Farmers Alliance party and its symbol with the description as “A farmer with an ox ploughing his land and the words “Re-United Farmers Alliance” on the top.” A photo of the symbol accompanied the description.

Thomas questioned why the EBC allowed some candidates to file their nomination papers while others in other constituencies were not allowed “because it did not have our parties symbol.”

She said, “Notably, the election rules make specific provision that it is the EBC that must provide the party’s symbol to the different returning officer. In those circumstances, we have retained lawyers who are in the process who are approaching senior counsel to file an election petition to challenge the EBC’s conduct in relation to our party.

“We will seek justice not only on behalf of our candidates but also on behalf of the people of this country,” Thomas said.

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The letter dated July 6 written by attorney Leon Kallicharan has been issued to the Chief Elections Officer outlining the matter which involved Rosa-Marie Reshma Ramkissoon, the intended candidate for Couva East/Balmain,  and Tranel Ghany, the intended candidate for Caratal/Tortuga, who were not allowed to file their nomination papers due to not having their party’s symbol to provide to the EBC.

The letter also outlined cases of Dhanraj Bhagarathi and Kevin Bobby Jaggernauth who had similar issues but were able to eventually file their nomination papers after providing the symbolic evidence.

The letter states, “The obligation was on the Chief Election Officer to provide the Returning Officers with the parties and the symbols so assigned. There was no obligation on the candidates to provide the symbols. On receipt of the confirmation from the candidate that he was a member of the party and upon becoming aware that his membership was confirmed by a list of candidates provided by the party under Rule 23(6) the obligation was to accept the nomination.”

Kallicharan asked in the letter that reasons be provided why certain nominations were deemed invalid.


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