The Prime Minister said the initial voter turnout on Monday indicated a good flow, despite what some pundits had predicted.
Dr Keith Rowley made the comments after voting at the International School, Port of Spain. He voted around 9.30 am.
He told the media that the process was very swift and smooth.
“All the reports I have had of the process so far have been positive. People are coming to vote. There are long lines, meaning people are wanting to express themselves.
“Also that people are observing the social distancing. People are being patient, and as long as the lines are moving, the long lines are a good indication of the willingness of the population to take part in the process. We can’t hope for more than that.”
He said not very many people would stay away because of covid19, when asked about the elderly voting during the pandemic. People who are in homes for the aged, who were particularly vulnerable, might not participate, he said, because they would have to be taken out of the homes and then back in.
He added the Government was working hard to keep those homes completely sanitised and it was good that there weren’t any issues with people at the homes for the elderly.
He also said he had no reports on special groups, when asked about quarantined people voting. Rowley added people in quarantine and voting should follow the protocols and once that was done, all should be well.
Asked if a prisoner had tested positive for covid19, he said he was not identifying individuals, and relies on official reports. At the time of voting he had not received an official report for the day about the pandemic, and if it was so he would be informed later in the morning from an official source.
“Some of the items that may come to you from unofficial sources are sometimes quite ridiculous and misleading, and if you are not careful you can be influenced by misinformation.”
Rowley was relieved that campaigning and the election came to an end on Monday because “it was very hard work,” though effective.
“I think we set about, on our platform, to communicate with the public by way of information and it was a campaign of reporting to the population for our stewardship.
“I am very satisfied that we ran an effective campaign and I think most of the population would have had access to the information that would have been useful and required, and today they will act on it.”
While he said every election is important, Rowley said this one was particularly important because it heralded a period which was not the easiest for TT and required the best management available.
He had no doubt that the election process, like many other things, had been affected by covid19, and said it would be forever changed.
“We have run a campaign this time like we have never run before, one that didn’t allow us to go our traditional way of having rallies and meetings in different areas. But we found a way to communicate with all of our members, supporters and the country, using the technology.”
He does not expect that parties will rely in future elections on what used to be done. Although rallies and meetings will return to the political landscape, he believes 2020 set the standard for what future elections will be like.
He also hopes that TT will one day get to a point of mail-in ballots, “And, if technology is secure enough to allow, voting online.”
Apart from being “old-fashioned and conservative,” Rowley said he was afraid of online voting because even though technology allows for a lot of things to be done, it allowed a lot of bad things to be done by those who knew how.
He said given what happened in TT with Cambridge Analytica, “I would be at the back of the line to go too far in losing control of the process.
“The process has to be able to be scrutinised and be entirely accountable.”
As election results come in, Rowley will first be with his family at home. He then plans to head to his campaign office when the results begin to come in, and when the results are largely in, he will meet some of his party colleagues and members at Balisier House.
However, he urged other people not to come to Balisier House because there wasn’t any space in the yard, as it was a construction site, and the party didn’t want a good election campaign to be spoilt by congregation and the spread of covid19.
He asked people to celebrate in small groups wherever they are.
If anyone is looking for Dr Rowley on Tuesday morning, he says he will be on the golf course.
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