Reference is made to Kaieteur News’ article “Coalition’s dead voter claim…Family says it never approved access to death certificate” (May 27, 2020). Undoubtedly, the article sought to present a picture that the alleged death certificate of Chitnandani Ramdass purportedly used by the APNU+AFC as evidence of the dead voting was unauthorised by the deceased family and the named person did not vote. For all intent and purpose, it could be accepted- 1) it is the truth; the named person is deceased and, 2) the family did not authorise the release of the certificate.
Said article noted Ms. Amna Ally referred to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, which allows “everyone” access to a death certificate and aided the public’s understanding by quoting the relevant provision. This was contrasted with a claim by Mr. Anil Nandlall that such access is not permissible by an unauthorised person, and as per the family’s complaint, is a violation of the Access to Information Act. He quoted the provision to justify his argument. It would now become debate or fodder whether or not the Information Act has any bearing on the Births and Deaths Act in retrieving a certificate though such is permissible as per the quoted provision in the latter Act.
The above aside, what is most disturbing in the article is how the newspaper was able to report that the “Official List of Electors (OLE) commonly known as the Pink List, showed, however, that the woman’s name was not ticked as voted…” The reporter, Ms. Shikema Dey, or Editor did not advise how this ‘knowledge’ was gained or the paper’s ability to access a document that would have been in the ballot box of that particular polling station where the allegation is made of a dead person voting.
How was access granted to the Pink List and by whom? While the newspaper quoted the Acts regarding access or alleged non-access to the death certificate it did not refer to any Act (law) and its concomitant provision that gives it such access to the Pink List. Editor, could this please be made known? The newspaper cannot afford to be silent on this when fingers are pointing to political parties tampering with and undermining the integrity of the ballot, vote and tally.
There is information carried by the very media that many of these Pink Lists, which should have been in the ballot boxes are missing. That list marks off who voted. The absence of these has cast serious doubt on the credibility of the voting process and by extension the results. I doubt the paper would want to be perceived as aiding this. Those lists remain the guarded property of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). In the case of the specific list, it should have only been accessible to the election personnel of that particular polling station on Election Day and those in the recounting station of that specific box, not the public.
The Pink List is a legal document of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). How then was a newspaper allowed to have access to same if not given by GECOM voluntarily or mandated by Court Order? Some clarity would help here. Could Kaieteur News advise the public under what Act (Law), Order or consent was the newspaper able to gain access to the Pink List of that particular Polling Station or any such List for any other polling station?
Minette A. Bacchus
Editor’s note: While we are not obligated to share how this information was acquired, we assure you that no law was broken.
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