By Kemol King
Commissioner of Police, Leslie James appears to have forwarded false information to GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh in response to her request to verify claims made by David Granger’s APNU+AFC coalition, according to documents Kaieteur News has seen.
In the letter to Singh, dated May 21, 2020, APNU+AFC Campaign Co-Chair, Joseph Harmon stated that “During the recount, Agents of the APNU+AFC made objections at the Counting Stations to the voting and counting of ballots by certain Electors after the Counting Agents indicated that the said Electors were recorded as having voted at the March, 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections. Our investigations have revealed that Electors were outside the jurisdiction and were recorded as voted. I hereby supply a further list of Electors listed in the Appendix to this letter who were not in Guyana as at the 2nd of March, 2020, and were recorded as voted.”
Singh had subsequently written to the Police Commissioner on May 22, asking him to cause the Immigration Department to verify that the persons whose names were selected by the Coalition were out of the country on Election Day.
“The APNU/AFC is alleging,” Singh told James in the letter, “that persons whose names and dates of birth appear on the list attached had migrated and could not have exercised their franchise on March 2, 2020. In this regard I shall be grateful if you will be so kind as to cause the Immigration Department to verify whether these persons were out of the country on March 2, 2020.”
James respond on May, 27 stating simply: “I refer to your letter dated May 22, 2020 and forward herewith report from Deputy Chief Immigration Officer for your information.” The current Deputy Chief Immigration Officer is Senior Superintendent Ewart Wray.
Kaieteur News yesterday received a list of 207 names that were purportedly attached to the original letter sent from Harmon to Singh and forwarded through James to Wray. The paper is also in receipt of a list of 172 of those names that were supposedly confirmed as being out of the country on March 2, persons that the Coalition claims to have been recorded as having voted.False Information
However, three of the persons whose names appear on that list have since come forward to state that they were in Guyana on Election Day. The first is Mr. Amos Bhola, born on June 15, 1940. The report claims that Bhola left the country on April 18, 2019 and did not return to Guyana on/before Election Day. In a video seen by this paper, Bhola is seen holding up his passport, issued in January, 2018. He is heard saying “Bhola from Bounty Hall, Essequibo Coast. Vote[d] on March 2, 2020 and I got a visa [which] I used to go out, and I got a permanent visa and [it] expire[d] since 2013 and me never go back anywhere.”
The second person is a woman, Andreanna Indira Persaud, born on August 22, 1981. The report claims that Persaud left the country on November 10, 2019 and did not return to Guyana on/before Election Day. In a video, Persaud is heard saying “Andreanna Persaud, Plantation Phillip, Essequibo Coast. I’m a[n] owner for this passport and I never travelled to go [to] any country or anywhere. I don’t have a visa, and I vote[d] on March 2, 2020 Election.”
Kaieteur News also spoke to a 38-year-old woman requesting anonymity, whose name was included on both the list of 207 forwarded to James by Singh, as well as the list of 172 confirmed as not being in the country on E-day as claimed by the Coalition and ‘verified’ by immigration. The woman told Kaieteur News that her last trip out of the country was over five years ago, when she spent two weeks in Trinidad. She stated that she has not left Guyana since and voted on March 2nd. Kaieteur News checked her social media activity leading up to and around E-day and can confirm that she was in Guyana.
The Chair’s decision to forward the APNU+AFC list appeared to be in conflict with an earlier statement she made regarding the treatment of allegations brought to the Commission. In a statement on March 21, the GECOM Chair stated that “he who asserts, must prove”, adding that the Commission would deliberate and decide on “the trends based on the allegations in the observation reports” and “claims of anomalies”. The allegations made by Harmon were sent to her that same day and the very next day she sent off her letter to the Commissioner of Police.
In her letter to James, Singh had also claimed “The Commission would wish this matter to be urgently addressed”. However, as reported, the Commission itself had not deliberated on the issue nor were Commissioners given prior notice of the Chair’s decision to send the list from Harmon for investigation by the Department of Immigration. (See story on page 9, ‘Claudette Singh acted on own accord…’)
Additionally, GECOM’s Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward yesterday reported to the press that GECOM did not check the list given to it by APNU+AFC to ensure that the persons listed as being out of the country had actually voted. (See story on page 15, ‘GECOM did not verify list before dispatching…’)
A Clear Pattern of Fabrication
These false claims are not the first of such made by APNU+AFC. The governing coalition has embarked on a sustained campaign of misinformation since the beginning of the recount, well documented by Kaieteur News.
Kaieteur News, over the past few days, spoke to a teacher from Region Two who requested anonymity. The young man verified his identity with his ID card, and provided photos of his passport, issued since July, 2015 which showed no stamp to indicate that he has travelled. In fact, the young man said that he has never left the country, even though APNU+AFC agent, Kidackie Amsterdam, objected to his serial number during the recount, and falsely grouped him with the set of persons the party is claiming could not have cast a valid vote because they were not in the jurisdiction. Kaieteur News verified that his serial number was objected to, using the corresponding observation report.
It was also reported that the Coalition supplied a list to GECOM during the recount exercise, which falsely claimed that a Sisters Village, Berbice couple were out of the jurisdiction on Election Day. The married couple, Shirley and Aubrey Nicholson, have since confirmed that they voted at a Sisters Village Primary School polling station, and spent the rest of the day home with their grandchildren. After Kaieteur News exposed this, the Coalition’s Leonard Craig attempted to double down on the false claim, and labeled this newspaper’s reporting as propaganda. Kaieteur News then reached out to the couple again, who provided photos of their passport documents, proving that they were in Guyana on Election Day.
The APNU+AFC’s Aubrey Norton had claimed on June 31 last “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.” As covered in this story only 207 names were seen to be sent to GECOM.
See entire list attached, of 172 names Immigration Department reported were out of country on Election Day.
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