The APNU+AFC Coalition yesterday gave its signature of approval to the certificates of results for the Region One recount, despite raising credibility issues just minutes before the document surfaced.
It was PNC executive, Aubrey Norton, who spoke to reporters at the National Recount Media Centre yesterday afternoon, giving what he termed “a preliminary review of what happened in Region One.”
Norton also said that he had no knowledge that his party had signed off any certificate for the Region One results.
“I don’t know that there could be any certification of any results at this stage. We have a number of questions that are raised.”
Pointed to reports that the documents were shared out to the parties already, Norton said, “You can receive it but it doesn’t follow that you agree and you signed.”
He said he doesn’t see the party signing off anything at this stage because of the credibility issues.
But then later offered “a signature is dependent on us accepting that it is credible. So far, its credibility is in question.”
Just as he left the media centre, photos of the documents surfaced, signed off by Coalition agent, Daniel Seeram.
Responding to questions on this matter, GECOM Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward said she was made to understand that there was an objection from the Coalition representative, and that the agent preferred that the boxes read ‘total votes cast instead of ‘total valid votes cast’ before he signed off.
Nevertheless, the agent signed off on the document, though the change was not made.
Norton claimed, “45 out of 89 ballot boxes that were counted can be clearly linked to illegalities and electoral fraud.”
There were 99 boxes in that region, not 89.
He went on to claim that 26 polling books for the region could not be found, and that there were 47 missing certificates of employment, and said that these two occurrences could point to issues of fraud.
He also claimed that 30 oaths of identity were missing from several boxes.
The party executive claimed that 49 persons who were out of the jurisdiction on Election Day appear to have voted, and that a number of dead persons appear to have voted as well.
None of these claims has been supported by proof to the public. It is unclear whether the Coalition has given any proof of these claims, as Amna Ally had said the party supplied proof to GECOM before Commissioner Sase Gunraj said that no such proof has been tendered.
Furthermore, Norton claimed that 120 votes were “regained” by APNU+AFC during the recount, but his claim does not align with the numbers coming out of GECOM.
Asked to clarify his claim, Norton said that the Coalition observed that 120 votes cast in favour of APNU+AFC were found in the PPP/C pile and had been counted as PPP/C votes. He said that those were corrected during the recount.
He said that he was referring to the General Election, not Regional. But both elections registered an increase of only four votes when the ballots were recounted.
The Regional Election declaration for Region One, available on GECOM’s website, shows a total of 3,839 votes cast in favour of APNU+AFC, while the recount certificate shows 3,843.
The General Election declaration for Region One, available on GECOM’s website, shows a total of 3,905 votes cast in favour of APNU+AFC, while the recount certificate shows 3,909.
Pointed to these facts, Norton responded, “When we did the calculation, I don’t know where you get the mathematics from. But when we did the calculation, our votes increased by 120.”
Pointed to this again, Norton said, “The information which we have suggests that it is increased by 120.”
Asked whether he looked at GECOM’s tabulation, Norton responded “No. I haven’t.”
All of these issues raised by Norton are yet to be substantiated, though he claims that the cause for it is that the PPP/C has compromised some of GECOM’s staff.
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