Latest update June 2nd, 2023 12:49 AM
May 11, 2022 Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom
In so far as the PNC/R is concerned, the elections of 2020 should have been seen as past and gone. The attempt to rig the elections in favour of the APNU+AFC failed and as such there is no need to maintain the discredited narrative about the elections being characterised by gross irregularities.
The PNC/R’s leadership is leading its supporters down a blind alley by persisting with this disreputable narrative. The PNC/R has nothing to gain and everything to lose by hanging on to such a storyline.
Originally, the APNU+AFC, of which the PNC/R is the principal partner, said that it had won the elections and that its statements of poll establish this. But the party did not produce its statements of poll to substantiate its original claim that it had won the elections.
After then President, David Granger agreed to a recount, the party changed its tune. It began to contend that dead and migrant persons voted. Well, if this was indeed the case, it meant that the PNC/R was originally claiming victory in an election marred by irregularities.
Having boxed itself into a corner, the APNU+AFC tried to concoct irregularities during the recount process. It claimed, for example, that dead migrated persons had voted. The press, however, was able to dispute many examples of this and showed the so-called evidence which the APNU+AFC produced about irregularities. Persons came forward upset that they were being referred to as either dead or out of the jurisdiction on Election Day.
When the PNC/R now speaks about observation reports, it is referring to the ‘pappy show’ it put on during the recount by raising numerous objections in the hope of aborting the process. On another front, court action was even taken to deem the Recount unlawful.
The observation reports referred to by the PNC/R is the product of the APNU+AFC’s own shenanigans during the recount process. The Caricom mission, which observed the recount, dismissed these so-called observations.
In its report the Caricom Team exposed the game plan which it saw adopted by the party agents of the APNU+AFC. This is what it stated in relation to the APNU+AFC’s tactic of demanding information on serial numbers at polling stations: “It was observed as well, that the party agents (APNU/AFC) in particular, used this medium as a means of identifying voters who were presumed to be supporters of opposition parties and also to delay the process in a number of instances. This seems to have been a game plan for future reference. The numerous requests for information on serial numbers were so bizarre, that on one observed occasion, an APNU/AFC agent was prepared to query serial numbers on the OLE in a work station where no one had voted. This was observed in Region 5, box 5157 where there was a single elector on the list, yet the APNU/AFC agent raised 5 serial numbers.”
“On more than one occasion, throughout the period of the recount, the Team observed that APNU+AFC agents requested information on over 100 serial numbers with GECOM providing the requested information on which the agents later launched their objections to the serial number (a voter) having cast a ballot in the March 02 elections. These challenges were often made on the grounds of: Death and Migration and presumably therefore the contention is that in the March 02, 2020 polls, the phenomenon of ghost voting occurred as well as voter impersonation and other forms of voter fraud.”
The Caricom Team described this tactic as a “fishing expedition” which led to considerable time being wasted during the Recount. It went on to state that the APNU+AFC’s objection had the “unfortunate effect of casting such a wide net in the face of the audio broadcast in the work stations and the decision to read the Observation Reports attached to the SOR’s during the tabulation process in the Tabulation Centre, was that it provided fodder to persons who peddled the queries as factual. This invariably and unfortunately led to a false narrative in the public domain that the elections were not credible and that massive electoral fraud occurred on poll day. But perhaps this was precisely the political objective.”
The Caricom Team described the conduct of the party agents, particularly those of the APNU+AFC, as totally unacceptable. It said that this conduct not only cheapened the dignity of the Recount exercise but also contributed to an atmosphere of intimidation.
The Caricom Team noted that, “The Team observed many instances of blatant incivility on the part of APNU+AFC agents particularly in Region 4 work stations which were acute during the first week of the national recount. Often these emotional outburst, loud shouts, arrogance, aggressive and dismissive attitude descended into shouts of “Shut up” and on one occasion to personal insults and invectives, including one which alleged that the PPP/Civic party representation was a ‘paedophile’.”
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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