Freed treason accused and political activist, Mark Benschop, has officially informed the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) that he will be contesting the May 11 General Elections with the Independent Party, which he heads.
In a Facebook posting yesterday, Benschop, who also hosts an online radio talk show, said that he and another representative, Keisha Sohan, yesterday met with officials of GECOM; Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, and Deputy, Vishnu Persaud.
“During the hour long meeting, we expressed our concern about the questionable 75,000 new registrants, and asked for a breakdown. Surprisingly, we were informed by the officials that the number is much higher.”
The Independent Party, Benschop said, has also expressed concern about the 38,000 persons who haven’t uplifted their ID cards and raised questions about the measures being used to reach those persons. “However, it wasn’t a surprise that the bulk of the 38, 000 ID cards belongs to persons from Region 4. Persons need to read between the lines as to what’s happening here, and hopefully those in the coalition are back from their honeymoon and begin to focus on real issues that could possibly affect the outcome of the elections.”
Benschop said that his party is of the view that the Preliminary Voters List is heavily padded in favor of the corrupt PPP regime.
“This is what the big boys/girls in the coalition need to focus on, instead of attempting to brainwash folks about who is going to split the votes, or who this or who that. Or, are they afraid to talk about the thousands of Chinese and Indian nationals who were allegedly placed on the list illegally in order to cast their votes for the dictators at Freedom House?”
The treason charge against Benschop had stemmed from the storming of the Presidential complex on July 3rd 2002, during a march in protest of government’s treatment of the people of Kwakwani and other Berbice bauxite mining concerns.
Two persons were shot dead in the compound when presidential guards opened fire on those who had barged in after forcing open the gate.
A jury returned an 11 to one verdict of not guilty at Benschop’s trial and it was not until after he had already spent five years in prison that he was eventually pardoned by former President Bharat Jagdeo.
Before his charge, he hosted “Straight Talk,” which debuted in 1999.
His retrial date was pushed back several times over the years before Jagdeo gave Benschop an unconditional pardon that allowed him to get out of prison on Monday, Aug. 20, 2007.
Benschop’s party will contest the elections against the National Independent Party, headed by Attorney-at-Law, Saphier Husain Subeda; the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic and the coalition front, Alliance For Change/A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), among others.
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