Footage from Ashmin’s building during 2020 Elections cannot be found – CEO Persaud testifies

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Chief Elections Officer (CEO) at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Vishnu Persaud, has revealed that none of the footage from inside the Ashmin’s Building, which housed the Office of the Region Four Returning Officer, during the March 2020 elections cannot be found.

Persaud is the first witness to the take the stand as the public hearings into the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the events that unfolded after the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections commenced this morning.

During the polls, the Ashmin’s Building – located at High and Hadfield Streets, Georgetown – was used as the office of the Returning Officer (RO) for District Four (Demerara-Mahaica). The RO for the 2020 election was Clairmont Mingo.

Persaud testified that while he is generally required to have knowledge of where security footage of GECOM operations are stored, he indicated that no one seems to know about the location of the surveillance footage from Ashmin’s building during the elections period.

“I am not aware that any such footage is available. In fact, I did enquire. I was informed that the cameras were installed on that [Ashmin’s] Building on the instructions of Chief Elections Officer [in 2020, Keith Lowenfield] that might have been done by a private service provider. And nobody seems to know when the cameras were removed and where the footage might be.”

“And in terms of record, may I venture [to say] that when I assumed office in the Office of the Chief Elections Commission, where the computers which should have had info or could have had info in that regard, all of the computers were wiped clean,” Persaud said.

Persaud was appointed CEO at GECOM in December 2021 – months after his predecessor, Keith Lowenfield was terminated in August last year.

Meanwhile, during his testimony, CEO Persaud also detailed the electoral process and procedures, that is, leading up to, during and after the polling day.