The Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice Claudette Singh has received information from the Immigration Department, to support her investigation into the claims made by APNU+AFC during the National Recount of votes.
A letter from the Commissioner of Police Leslie James, dated May 27, 2020, was sent to the Chair, in response to her earlier letter of May 22, 2020, seeking confirmation whether persons APNU+AFC alleges were out of the country, in fact were.
Kaieteur News was informed that Justice Singh forwarded a list of 200 names to Commissioner James, and that a report from the Deputy Chief Immigration Officer confirmed that 172 of those persons were in fact out of the country on Election Day.
This conflicts with a claim made by APNU+AFC representative, Aubrey Norton last Friday that the Coalition sent a list of 600 names of which 90 percent were confirmed.
Norton had claimed “we have sent a first batch of 600 such information to GECOM… we are reliably informed that immigration has confirmed over 90 percent of them that were ticked, according to their records, are out of the jurisdiction.”
The Chair’s list included 200 persons, not 600, and no proof was provided to indicate that these persons had voted on Election Day. In the picture this paper has seen of the Chair’s letter, there appears to be a part of the listed submitted attached, featuring names, a column for dates of birth, a column of featuring dates but with no discernible categorization for them, and a column simply filled with the text “-do-”.
It is unclear whether GECOM will return to the OLEs to ensure that the corresponding serial numbers and names were ticked off, or whether GECOM already did verify that the list of names was already ticked off on the OLE to indicate that they have voted.
The Coalition has been making many objections during the recount process, and its ‘foreign voters’ claims account for 1,999 out of the 4,122 irregularities, which it claims have been unearthed.
Since the beginning of the recount, GECOM recorded objections even if the individual in question did not cast a vote. It was only a little over a week ago that GECOM passed down a directive for staffers to note only objections for individuals whose serial numbers were ticked off to indicate that they voted.
The PPP/C responded to news of the Police Commissioner’s letter, alleging that the Immigration Department had already supplied citizens’ personal immigration records to the APNU+AFC Coalition, with the
Commissioner of Police purporting to verify the information that the department already supplied to the party.
The PPP/C said that the Coalition is concocting the allegations and pointed to previous reports of false claims being made by the Coalition. Once instance noted by the PPP/C is a Kaieteur News report about how the Coalition falsely claimed that a Sisters Village, Berbice couple was out of the country on Election Day.
The Opposition party claimed that it also found hundreds of persons who were in Guyana and voted, despite the Coalition claiming that they were out of the jurisdiction on Election Day.
The PPP/C said that what the Coalition is doing is just a tactic to delay the declaration of the results.
The party intends to seek a meeting with the Chair for clarity on this development.
Justice Singh’s decision to investigate the claims has drawn the ire of Commissioner Sase Gunraj and his colleagues nominated by the Oppostion, who are concerned that the Chair made such a decision without allowing the Commission to make an official decision on how to deal with the allegations.
Her actions especially now contrast with a statement she had made, that “he who asserts, must prove.”
The Opposition maintains that any such objections are best suited for an elections petition. The party said that it is not afraid of any investigation of the sort, only that it has to be handled by the Court. Chair of ANU, Timothy Jonas, has raised similar concerns about GECOM carrying out such an investigation. Jonas has argued that GECOM is compromised.
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