When Ralph Gonsalves told the electorate something, commenting after the failed referendum poll 2009, he made it very obvious that he was aware that bribing the voters at the time of elections is the only sure way to get elected. A criminal act, both for the briber and the bribed. You can be sure he already knew that for years because he claims to be a lawyer with constitutional expertise. He is an expert in-law and a political scientist.
So, what was the difference between bribing the people at the time of an election which there is plenty of evidence that has been done before every election since at least 2006? What is the difference between that and bribing the electorate at the time of a constitutional referendum, whereby none of the voters was [known to be] bribed? The referendum was held to rid us of the Queen as head of state and replace her with a republic system with a president as head of state. Had the electorate been bribed at that time the British government and the Commonwealth would have reacted in such a way that Gonsalves may well have found himself held on bribery charges. So, unlike the general election, there were no building materials distributed as bribes before the constitutional referendum in 2009. Had it of passed, Gonsalves would most likely be president right now.
When the police are told or know about a chargeable offence and do nothing about, that is a criminal act on the part of the individual police force members. When the Police chief and commanding officers know of the bribery campaign and do nothing to stop it that is at the very least police misconduct and may be chargeable offences are committed.
When a man walks down the road with knapsack or bag, or goes to the ferry port and is searched, or a ladies shopping bags are rifled with no previous information laid before the police, that is a fishing trip.
When a thousand small and medium trucks loaded with building materials drive past the police station for days and weeks before an election and the police act as if nothing is happening. That is at the least, dereliction of duty, perhaps an illegal act by the police. The police like everyone else know what these trucks are carrying and for what purpose. Some of those trucks will perhaps even be going to the homes of police officers.
When the police and even the police chief know that truckloads of building materials are being delivered to private homes as gifts to encourage the recipient to vote for a particular political party, failing to act on that knowledge is a criminal act on behalf of the police. The police even helped direct traffic when the roads are jammed outside the store yards. They aid and abet the flow of stolen property to the bribed electorate.
The St Vincent and the Grenadines: Electoral law; representation of the people act part v1 election offences, is very clear on the matter:
44. 44. (1) The following persons shall be deemed guilty of bribery within the meaning of this act-.
(a) any person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives, ends, agrees to give or lend, or offers, promises to procure or to endeavour to procure, any money or valuable consideration to or for any voter, or to or for any other person in order to induce any voter to vote or refrain from voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of any voter having voted or refrained from voting at any election;
(b) any person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives or procures, or agrees to give or procure, or offers, promises, or promises to procure or to endeavour to procure, any office, place or employment to or for any voter, or to or for any person on behalf of any voter or to or for any other person in order to induce such voter to vote or refrain from- voting or corruptly does any voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of any voter having voted or refrained from voting at any election;
(c) any person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement, or agreement as aforesaid to or for any person, in order to induce such person to procure, or endeavor to procure, the return of any person as an elected member of the house of assembly, or the vote of any voter at any election;
(d) any person who, upon or in consequence of any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement, procures or engages, promises or endeavors to procure, the return of any person as an elected member of the house of assembly or the vote of any voter at any election;
(e) any person who advances or pays, or causes to be paid, any money to or to the use of any other person with the intent that such money, or any part thereof, shall be expended in bribery at any election or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid any money to any person in discharge of repayment of any money wholly or in part expended in bribery at any such election;
(f) any voter who, before or during any election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives, agrees or contracts for any money, gift, loan or valuable consideration, office, place or employment for himself or for any other person, for voting or agreeing to vote, or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting at any election; and
(g) any person who, after any election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting at any such election.
(2) the provisions of subsection (1) shall not extend or be construed to extend to any money paid or agreed to be paid for or on account of any legal expenses incurred in good faith at, or concerning, an election.
(3) for the purposes of subsection (2), “legal expenses” include
(a) the payment of the agents, clerks, canvassers and messengers of candidates;
(b) payments made for the purpose of hiring vehicles for the conveyance of voters to or from a polling station;
(c) payments made for the use of any premises for a public meeting in furtherance of the candidature of any person or for the use of any committee room or office for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of a candidate;
(d) payments made in respect of postage, stationery, printing, advertising, the distribution of advertising materials and the use of any public address system.
45. the following persons shall be deemed guilty of treating within the meaning of this act-
(a) every person who corruptly, by himself or by any other person, either before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly, gives, or provides or pays wholly or in part the expenses of giving or providing any food, drink, entertainment, or provision to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person, or any other person, to vote or to refrain from voting, at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election;
(b) every person who corruptly accepts or takes any such food, drink, entertainment or provision.
46. Any person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes use of, or threatens to make use of, any force, violence or restraint, or inflicts or threatens to inflict by ‘himself or by any other person any temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm, or loss upon or against any person, in order to induce or compel such person to vote or refrain from voting or an account of such person having voted or refrained from voting at any election, or who by abduction, duress or any fraudulent contrivance, impedes or prevents the free exercise of the franchise of any voter, or thereby compels, induces, or prevails upon any voter either to give or refrain from giving his vote at any election, shall be guilty of undue influence within the meaning of this act.
47. Any person who at an election applies for a ballot paper in the name of another person, whether that name be the name of a person living or dead or of a fictitious person, or who, having once voted at any election, applies at the same election for a ballot paper in his own name, shall be guilty of personation within the meaning of this act.
48. Any person who is guilty of bribery, treating or undue influence under the provisions of this act, is liable to a fine of $750 and to imprisonment for six months.
49. Any person who is guilty of personation, or of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of the offence of personation, is liable, on conviction on indictment, to a fine of four thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years.
50. Any person who is convicted of bribery, treating, undue influence or personating or of aiding, counselling, or procuring the commission of 49 the offense of personation shall (in addition to any other punishment) be incapable during a period of seven years from the date of conviction –
Before each of the last three elections, thousands of citizens received building materials either owned by the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines or the Unity Labour Party. The materials were distributed only to known Unity Labour Party supporters. Some members of the government tried to create a sham reason for the distribution by saying the materials were for the repair of previous storm damage. However, materials were given to people who obviously did not even need such materials and the goods ended up stored at dwelling for months after the elections.
This must never happen again. If the police do not act to stop this happening, they should be filmed, and foreign TV companies should be invited to carry the story. Every truck carrying bribery building materials in the future should be filmed, the recipients should be filmed, the goods being unloaded should be filmed. Footage should be sent to every news agency worldwide.
Constituency offices where it was observed last time order sheets of confirmed amounts were given out to citizens to be able to collect government and ULP owned building materials should be filmed.
This kind of bribery should never be tolerated again, tell the authorities they are being filmed and recorded. The NDP should employ people to film bribery and publish it on YouTube.
Be prepared to ask the British and US government for help with the matter, ask them months and weeks before an election to comment on previous and present elections. Ask observers to make reports specifically on these matters, weeks before the election day; when most of this bribery is going on.
It has to stop, and the police should stop protecting the government and protect the people from this dastardly corruption.
The police have become a private police force owned by the ULP, the prime minister and his family dynasty. Ralph Gonsalves must pass almost anything and everything that has political under or overtones for approval.
Police misconduct under the ULP is out of control of public oversight but under the control of the ULP leadership. Misconduct refers to inappropriate conduct and or illegal actions taken by police officers in connection with their official duties. Police misconduct can lead to a miscarriage of justice and sometimes involves discrimination and or illegal motives of segregation combined as obstruction of justice. There is no civilian input of the police anymore. The police have become politically jaundiced carrying out precise political orders, sometimes with mal-effect on citizens.
Individuals and groups should now be filming police at every opportunity, in an effort to force police to become accountable for their actions and for their inactions. With the proliferation of mobile devices capable of recording alleged misconduct, police misconduct and abuse should now be receiving publicity on social media and websites including YouTube. Police often try to intimidate citizens into preventing them from using cameras. In other circumstances, police will illegally seize or delete evidence recorded by citizens, notwithstanding laws that make it a crime to destroy evidence of a crime being committed, irrespective of whether the crime is committed by civilians or by the police.
Types of misconduct include coerced false confession, beating of interviewees in the interview room, intimidation, false arrest, false imprisonment, falsification of evidence, planting evidence, spoliation of evidence, invention of charges previously unknown, police perjury, witness tampering, police brutality, police corruption, unwarranted surveillance, unwarranted searches and unwarranted seizure of property.
Police are making selective enforcement, sexual misconduct by police officers, off-duty misconduct, and the killing of dogs unjustly. Noble cause corruption, where the officer believes the good outcomes justify bad behaviour. Using a badge or other ID to enter concerts, to get free food and drinks in restaurants and bars, to get discounts and other things. Influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty. Violations by officers of police procedural policies. Police officers often share a “blue code of silence,” which means that they do not turn each other in for misconduct, while some officers have called this code a myth.
We must be sure that the rape of our voting system stops and that elections are free and fair without bribery. I am calling for everyone to film everything that they think is untoward. You can if you wish forward it to me and I will see it is properly archived or used against perpetrators, sent on to overseas government agencies.