By Sheena Brooks The Non-governmental Organization Coalition’s has again come under fire for certain claims contained within the group’s Observer Report arising from the January 25th general elections. This time the top echelon of the security forces has taken issue with the NGO report and is demanding it be retracted in its entirety. A communiquÃ© issued jointly By the Police High Command and the St. Kitts Nevis Defense Force condemns it as being “malevolent”. “The Security Forces are alarmed at the irresponsible behavior of this NGO Coalition and condemn its report – a document which can only be described as malevolent – and questions the intent of the composite groups who claimed to have an interest in fairness, safety and security,” it stated. The NGO report was released mid-February and claimed that agents on the Observation team witnessed “military vehicles of the Defense Force were being used to transport voters from St. Pauls to polling stations in Constituencies 4 and 5”. The Coalition report also called for a review of the need for “Defense Force personnel in riot gear toting M16 rifles”. The Security Forces release claims the NGO Coalition was misrepresenting the truth and said SKNDF Commander Colonel Patrick Wallace denied the allegations. “The Defense Force Commander denounces the allegation By the NGO Collation that on polling day members of the Defense Force were deployed to Constituency 4 “in riot gear and toting M16 rifles”. He wishes to state categorically that soldiers of the Force did not wear riot gear on polling day, nor were they deployed with M16 rifles for duties associated with the elections during the period of polling on Election Day.” During an exclusive interview with The Observer, Col. Wallace had denied that soldiers transported the Labour supporters and another of the NGO report claims that Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas berated soldiers for not transporting voters from Constituency 6 to Constituency 4 and 5 to vote. “The Defense Force soldiers had no such mandate, they had no order to do such things and I can vouch for my men that they would not have done any such thing. My general orders on Election Day were to ensure security at polling and counting stations and to deal with any incident designed to disrupt the electoral process and threaten the public peace.” He said the desired state was citizens were able to execute their right to elect the government of their choice without fear or intimidation.” On Monday the Army Commander again defended the probity of his organization. He was quoted as saying he “denounces the NGO Coalition allegation that the candidate for Constituency 6 berated members of the Force for failing to transport Labour Party supporters to vote in Constituencies 4 and 5 as a blatant lie, and also condemns the NGO Coalition Observers’ accusation that military vehicles were used to transport voters on Election Day as malicious”. The chiefs questioned the NGO Coalition’s motives for ‘the numerous documentation of falsehood and malicious reporting of allegations”, saying it was a smoke screen to facilitate a hidden agenda. These were the same sentiments expressed By the Honorable Prime Minister as he too denied allegations of impropriety on Election Day. He said the Labour Party would not accept the report unless several amendments were made. “It is false; it is malicious; and in my opinion it has been deliberately put as part of the political agenda of members of the Coalition who seem to have a political agenda that they are pursuing for the PAM party.” The NGO Coalition, comprised of the St. Kitts Evangelical Association, the St. Kitts Christian Council and the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, has not issued any formal response to either the Security Forces or Dr. Douglas.
- Advertisement -