Jun 15, 2020 News
A New and United Guyana (ANUG) has brought the APNU+AFC Coalition under strong criticism for how it has treated its supporters during this election season.
The party accused the Coalition of lying to its supporters when it declared an election victory based on a fraudulent tabulation of the Region Four vote by Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, and of lying to them now by regurgitating unsubstantiated claims of fraud against the credibility of the March 2 elections, now that the recount has shown the party has lost the elections.
‘Lied about winning election’
In a statement, ANUG noted how shortly before the Region Four result declaration was made by Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, a sum of the results for the other nine districts showed that the PPP/C had amassed a lead over the Coalition that it was unlikely to come back from.
As ANUG stated “APNU required 50,000 votes to win in Region 4 in order to win the election. APNU has never won Region 4 by such a large margin before.”
ANUG said that after Mingo fraudulently assessed the SOPs and declared a win for the Coalition, its leaders “David Granger, Basil Williams, David Patterson, Kathy Hughes and most APNU officials dismissed assertions PPP assertions of fraud, and claimed a victory on the count of the SOPs by Mingo. They began to celebrate their ‘victory’. Granger declared to his followers that ‘The APNU have won the election’.”
Mingo had produced two General Election declarations. The first, made on March 5 had later been vitiated by the Chief Justice as it was determined to be unlawful.
The second, made on March 13, was just as marred by a lack of transparency and reports of doctored numbers, as the first, and could not command the confidence of all political parties, observers and the international community. The recount has since proven that Mingo’s tabulation was fraudulent.
“In that recount, the nation learned that Mingo had lied,” ANUG stated, “that Granger had lied, that Williams, Patterson, Hughes and the entire contingent of the APNU leadership had lied. On the count of the ballots, PPP leads the APNU by 15,000 votes. APNU supporters have had to swallow the undeniable: that their leaders have lied to them, have deceived them.”
‘Lying about electoral fraud’
In the case of the Coalition’s claims of electoral fraud, ANUG said “Now, APNU has created a new lie,” with the help of “rogue elements” in the GECOM secretariat.
The party said that APNU+AFC had planned to fabricate the narrative that there were so many anomalies in the conduct of the elections it lost, that it could then argue for the annulment of the elections. ANUG said that this plan involved alleging that a number of voters from many ballot boxes were representative of persons who are either dead or were overseas on Election Day, and could not have validly cast their votes.
“APNU gave no evidence of this, but stated that evidence would be presented at a later, unspecified date.”
Even as GECOM recorded the Coalition’s observations, ANUG said, the Supervisors also refused to note observations by other parties that the allegations were “bare and unsubstantiated by a person who had no knowledge of the truth of his allegation”.
The party had sought to observe that those persons who cast their votes would have presented themselves to their respective polling stations, where they were scrutinised by PPP/C, APNU+AFC and GECOM representatives before they could cast their vote, but said that GECOM would only note the parties ‘objection to the allegation’.
Parties were also refused when they asked to look at the Official List of Electors from the ballot box to determine for themselves that votes were actually cast for those persons, ANUG said, “so that that question remains unknown.”
ANUG said that the Coalition sought to promote a narrative that the election from which it had previously touted itself to be victorious due to Mingo’s rigging, was not credible. The Coalition had made a series of false claims during the recount, which are well documented by Kaieteur News.
Despite many of the Coalition’s claims being well ventilated in the press, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield stated in a report to the Commission that the claims were “of substance”.
ANUG indicated that by seeking to lend credence to the Coalition’s unsubstantiated allegations, Lowenfield exceeded what the order for the recount required him to do, to tabulate the results. However, the party posited that Lowenfield’s tabulation of the total results of the recount proves that Mingo is guilty of fraud and that the Coalition lied to its supporters about winning the election.
ANUG went on to say that Lowenfield did not provide a summary of the observation sheets, but that he took it on himself to decide on the accuracy of the allegations of dead and overseas voters and in doing so, assumed the role of GECOM, instead of a simple ‘functionary’ of its Secretariat.
In his report, Lowenfield had stated ‘it cannot be ascertained that the results… meet the standard of fair and credible elections’. This sentence was repeated at the end of his report on every district.
“GECOM has replaced Mingo’s false spreadsheets with Lowenfield’s equally false opinions and conclusions in submitting a ‘report’ to the Commission,” ANUG stated.
on GECOM Chair’
In light of the misinformation propagated by the Coalition since the beginning of the recount, ANUG held that GECOM Chair, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh will know that Lowenfield relied on unsubstantiated ‘allegations’ to buttress his report, and that she will know that information from the third parties, such as the Immigration Department and the General Registrar’s Office, is not permissible as it is “untested by cross examination, is unverified by anyone, and can only be raised in an Election Petition, but may not be referenced lawfully by GECOM.”ANUG said the recount results make it clear which party has won the elections, and that the correct and lawful action would be for the Chair to recognise that.
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