People’s Progressive Party General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo is arguing for tougher penalties for political parties found culpable of electoral fraud, even as discrepancies with candidate lists have already started to appear.
Jagdeo made this statement at his press conference on Monday who also revealed that there were already several instances of electoral fraud in the process leading up to Local Government Elections.
According to Jagdeo, as many as 42 out of 80 Local Authority Areas have cases of forged signatures of persons being tricked into signing parties’ lists.
“They were told that they are signing for something else that was for GECOM , they were told that they were signing for trenches or better roads etc, or to get a Justice of Peace application approved and in some cases they didn’t even content. But remember the number, 42 of 80 areas, we have seen this kind of illegality” Jagdeo said
The Opposition Leader added “We will be pressing ahead to urge GECOM, now for the national elections to look at areas where we will strengthen penalties for transgression of the law. Not just for arrows and election officials but also for parties contesting elections when they act fraudulently”.
According to Jagdeo, his party’s advocacy will include greater definition of what the offences are and stiffer penalties.
“Because this is a large scale, it’s a massive set of fraudulent actions. 42 of 80 local Government areas they have submitted false information. And we are getting the people now, large numbers of them and you would see them coming forward over the next few days, “Jagdeo posited.
This comes in the wake of reports from East Berbice Corentyne that signatures representing a dead person, overseas based Guyanese and even the illiterate appearing on an Alliance for Change list.
There have also been reports that there was electoral fraud on a PPP list at Wakenaam. The General Secretary pointed out, that this is only one area, whereas claims of electoral fraud by other parties occurred in several areas.
Meanwhile, Jagdeo promised that his party would withdraw from that constituency if it is proven that his party candidates were engaged in the fraudulent conduct.