The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has made it clear that while they are not afraid of any inquiry, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) is merely trying to delay the recount by getting the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to go on a “wild fishing expedition” to verify their claims of voter fraud.
The party made this assertion in a statement on Sunday and it comes following the leaking of a letter written by GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, to Police Commissioner Leslie James in his capacity as the Chief Immigration Officer.
In the letter, which was kept a secret even from stakeholders in the National Recount, Singh asks the Commissioner to probe the allegations made by APNU/AFC that persons who voted were actually out of the country.
Attached to the letter was a list of those names of alleged migrant voters. This publication has confirmed with well-placed sources that the Commissioner of Police has since responded to the letter and has informed the GECOM Chair that 172 persons who are on the list were out of the country.
At this time, however, there is no word on whether ballots were issued for these individuals or whether they voted via proxy. For instance, APNU/AFC had previously claimed that a deceased elector had voted. Further checks had revealed, however, that the woman was never issued a ballot on election day. According to the PPP, this is all part of the coalition’s “nefarious” political agenda.
According to the party, they have found hundreds of cases where persons who APNU/AFC claimed were out of the jurisdiction but voted, were, in fact, present in Guyana at the time of the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
“Certainly, if the information provided by the Commissioner of Police/his servants and or agents are false, such misrepresentation will not be without consequences at the appropriate time,” the party said.
“In any event, there is no way of connecting any of the persons who APNU+AFC claim were abroad with the ballots cast on March 2, so it is all a wild fishing expedition to delay the declaration of the results. We continue to maintain that GECOM has no jurisdiction to hear and determine these matters which can only be addressed by the High Court in an election petition.”
According to the party, they are not afraid but rather, stand ready to participate in any investigation once it is done at the appropriate time and forum. They also revealed their intention to seek a meeting with the GECOM Chair, regarding this development. The party also predicted that APNU/AFC’s claims of electoral fraud will increase over the coming days.
“No doubt, as the recount continues to establish that the PPP/C won a landslide victory, APNU+AFC desperation will rise to fever-pitch over the next few days and we will have to confront many more wild and bizarre contentions,” the party also asserted.
Also expressing concern over the GECOM Chair’s letter was Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) Presidential Candidate, Lennox Shuman. During his engagement with the media, Shuman expressed concern over GECOM undertaking to ask the Police Commissioner to investigate APNU/AFC claims.
He said that based on the legal advice his party received, GECOM is acting out of its remit.
According to him, Singh never revealed to stakeholders that she had written to the Police Commissioner to have the issue investigated.
According to him, Justice Singh has shown a selective attitude towards investigating wrongdoing, since the recount has shown that Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo manipulated numbers to give APNU/AFC a victory, yet the Chairperson has not asked the police to investigate this. According to him, the Chairperson is going down a slippery slope.
“We’re very concerned that Madam Chair is going down a very slippery slope. Take for instance there was a dossier presented that stated that Mr Granger and Mr Harmon were dual citizens. The Commission has not undertaken to ask those people to provide evidence that they have renounced their citizenship with the US.”
Shuman said that while there should be an investigation into the 2020 elections considering the allegations being thrown around, this should by law be in the form of an elections petition, which will be judged in the High Court based on its merits.