The following is an opinion piece by Sasenarine Singh
What is an allegation? The Oxford dictionary defines it as a claim that someone has done something wrong but this accusation is typically made without VERIFIABLE PROOF. The key phrase in separating opinions from facts is “verifiable proof”.
Under Section 87 of the Representation of the People Act, Chp 1:03, a ballot is “rejected as invalid” once it fulfills any of the following criteria:
- It does not have an official mark (meaning it was not stamped with the unique six-digit stamp at the back of each ballot paper).
- It has not been marked for any party symbol.
- It was marked in such a manner that it cannot be established for whom the candidate has voted.
- It was marked for more than one party symbol.
- It is marked in such a manner that the voter can be identified.
The law does not provide any other back door means to invalidate a valid ballot. When the GECOM Counting Officials conducted the count on E-Day and the recount process in May/June 2020, they followed the lawful process and invalidated or rejected ONLY 4,213 of the votes cast in the presence of several non-GECOM stakeholders. This process in accordance with the law ensured that credibility was preserved.
Despite this legal process, the PNC led APNU-AFC continue to disseminate a series of false narrative and misleading information such as “thousands of members of the joint services were disenfranchised on Elections Day because the GECOM staff failed to stamp their ballots….”.
What is unfortunate is that a month after this PNC fantasy surfaced, the APNU-AFC has failed to provide any “VERIFIABLE PROOF” but recklessly continued to peddle this blatant untruth in a press release issued on June 26, 2020, which states “The Elections Commission recorded anomalies, discrepancies, and irregularities that included ballots improperly stamped at locations where members of the discipline services voted…”
For one to properly understand the absurdity of this allegation made by the PNC in their attempt to “evoke feeling” among the ranks, as admitted to by Mr. Joseph Harmon, one has to understand the process.
In selected ballot boxes, there is a sealed envelope containing the ballots of disciplined services (DS) voters. These DS voters are members of the joint services who were selected to be on duty on E-Day. In the 2020 elections across all 10 regions, some 8,086 DS voters (14.7%), cast their ballots a week before Elections Day. Those ballots were inter-mixed with 46,932 civilian ballots (85.3%) in 249 ballot boxes aggregating to 55,018 ballots cast (see table below).
However, during the recount process, only 456 ballots (0.8%) cast in these 249 ballot boxes were rejected for a variety of legal reasons, one being the failure to have an official mark. I have had a chance to study all 249 of these SoRs where the DS ballots were inter-mixed with civilian ballots and found that only 52 of these 456 rejected ballots were invalidated “for want of official mark”.
There is also no process by which GECOM or any other source can determine if any of these 52 rejected ballots were DS ballots, civilian ballots or a combination of both.
So it is most unfortunate that, former Lt Colonel (rtd) George Gomes, could have engaged in such ungentlemanly behaviour by stating in a letter to the media on May 30, 2020, that “over eight thousand (8,000) Disciplined Services votes were not stamped in the PPP strongholds in Districts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6….” It is this sort of false narrative that is being peddled in the PNC’s quest to support an illegality being perpetuated today by the CEO in order to invalidate 115,844 valid votes.
My name is Sasenarine Singh and I have a message for the entire PNC led APNUAFC Cabal, especially Ms. Volda Lawrence who sought to peddle this untruth on her Facebook Page a few days ago. My message is a quote from Proverbs 12:22 “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord….”