Sep 10, 2022 News
By Zena Henry
From a list of just over 500 names, more than 100 Guyanese who were said to be out of the jurisdiction during the 2020 elections were recorded as voted during the controversial polls; proving further, that some amount of irregularities would have occurred during the general elections.
This is according to information seen by this publication following the release of documents pertaining to voter fraud as requested by Attorney General Anil Nandlall. Nandlall, on behalf of the Government, wrote to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) requesting the names of dead persons and absent voters which then State Minister, Joseph Harmon, had submitted to the agency.
Opposition and Government Commissioner, Vincent Alexander and Sase Gunraj respectively, said that following discussions at the Commission, it was decided that the list provided by Harmon would be released as well as the confirmations from state agencies namely, the General Registration Office (GRO) and the Immigration Office, as to which names on the list had been flagged. They said that GECOM also decided that the information requested will go to Government as well as the Opposition. Both Commissioners told the publication that after the list of names was provided by the Opposition in 2020, it was then sent to the state agencies that responded by providing the information regarding those who were dead or out of the jurisdiction during the polls.
Alexander told the publication that it was found that more than 100 ballots were illegally cast out of the 500 names flagged at the time. GECOM, based on the documents seen by this newspaper, sent the documents to the state agencies in May of 2020 and responses were received from the Office of the Commissioner on June 8, 2020. Alexander told the newspaper that there are two documents from the Immigration Office – a department that falls under the Office of the Police Commissioner – but only one was received from GECOM, and he believes that this was an oversight. As it relates to GRO’s information, Alexander said that that information was also not provided, and as such, the newspaper was not able to ascertain how many deceased persons would have voted in 2020. Approximately 134 out-of-country voters are believed to have voted out of a list of about 512 names.
Both Alexander and Gunraj had told the Kaieteur News that when this information was received by GECOM, nothing was done about it since arguments were that GECOM did not have investigative power and that the information was necessary of an elections petition. Alexander said that Government Commissioners and the Chairwoman, Justice (rtd) Claudette Singh, had voted against anything being done with the document. He went on to state also that the Government now requesting this information seemed suspicious, especially since GECOM itself sought to do nothing with the information but was now determined to hand it over to the Government for it to be investigated. Alexander felt further that the Government might be seeking to use the information to make claims about the number of names that were presented as being out of the country. “Harmon made an allegation and any party is allowed to do so,” Alexander said. He noted, however, that what is important for GECOM is to ascertain what went wrong during its processes to allow the discrepancies, especially since Government’s interest seems to be on Harmon’s submissions rather than what was confirmed by the statutory bodies.
In a public letter, Alexander said that the matter of determining electoral malfeasance is clearly within the jurisdiction of the High Court as provided for in Article 163 of the Constitution. “GECOM itself recognised, but misapplied, that provision when it disallowed its own internal review of the tainted 2020 elections, but is now facilitating the Attorney General’s adventure into the domain of the High Court,” Alexander said. He said that the documents in question have been tendered in, at least one of, the ongoing petitions and that renders the matter sub judice, and prohibits anyone from making public comments on the matter.
The Attorney in his letter to GECOM had stated however that “grave allegations” were made in the 2020 elections about voter fraud. He said that “… as baseless and unfounded as they (allegations) were proven to be, it is important that the relevant state agency enquires into the source of this information, upon whose directions they were sourced, and perhaps, most importantly, to reconfirm their inaccuracy, for the public record.”
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