Day Seven of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the 2020 General and Regional Elections, saw testimony from the Deputy Returning Officer for Region Four, who recalled receiving death threats during the tabulation process at the Ashmins building.
During Tuesday’s public hearing, Paul Jaisingh, who served as one of the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) Deputy Returning Officers (DRO) for Region Four, took the stand before the Elections Commission of Inquiry.
Jaisingh recalled that on March 5, 2020, he had been inputting data from spreadsheets and was present when controversy surrounding the laptop and flash drive occurred. After working on the laptop, he recalled that it was taken from him by the IT technician.
As the DRO, Jaisingh’s immediate superior during the elections would have been embattled former Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, who is currently facing a slew of electoral fraud charges before the courts.
He recalled that the verification process for Region Four had stopped after objections were raised over the spreadsheet being used. He explained that it was when he went outside the tabulation room that he received death threats from an unidentified woman.
“I was outside the tabulation room… a female came and sat next to me and she issued some death threats. (She said) ‘you gon dead tonight’. I know she had on a white T-shirt… I was shocked, but I wasn’t intimidated,” Jaisingh told the CoI, adding that she left after making her threats.
The DRO further explained that he had never seen the woman before, but that GECOM employees were wearing white T-shirts that night. Jaisingh also noted that he would be unable to identify the woman presently.
The CoI resumed on Monday after an over two-week break that followed the testimonies of several witnesses. It was previously announced that the CoI’s work would continue from November 28, until the middle of December.
CoI Secretary Javeed Shadick, in an interview with the media, had explained that as the evidence unfolds, they may need to call back witnesses to clarify their testimonies, or even get more witnesses.
“It was taken to a good point, to pause, gather as much as we can and then, during this period, we’ve been working on speaking to the witnesses who’ve (testified), see if there is more information that they may have gotten,” Shadick had said previously.
He had also said that when the proceedings resume, they will be able to go in depth into more testimony. He also noted that the CoI is on track for its previously announced completion in January of 2023.
Prior to Monday, the last day the CoI was held, November 10, saw testimony from Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Chief Executive Officer Sase Singh, who was a scrutineer during that period; and GECOM Information Technology (IT) Manager Aneal Giddings.
In their quest for detailed information, the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Monday visited Ashmins building, ground zero for the controversy that nearly derailed the tabulation of the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Election CoI Commissioners, Retired Justices Stanley John, Godfrey Smith and Carl Singh, conducted the site visit of the Ashmins building. They were accompanied by Sophia Chote, the Trinidadian Senior Counsel who has led questioning during the CoI hearings.
During the tour, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Edgar Thomas, Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) IT Manager Aneal Giddings and then election observer Dr Josh Kanhai, were present to guide the Commissioners on exactly where certain key events occurred at Ashmins building.