PPP’s legal challenge to remove names from AFC backers’ lists could be taken to CCJ- Jagdeo

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…says we are fighting for the rights of all Guyanese here

Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Following the dismissal of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C’s) legal challenge against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to have the names of 50 persons who claimed to have been tricked into signing an Alliance for Change (AFC) nominators lists to contest the Local Government Elections (LGE) removed, Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo announced that the matter could be taken all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Speaking at his weekly press conference held on Thursday, Jagdeo revealed that the case could have been dismissed if the Police report in the matter had not been heavily doctored.

“Now the report is heavily doctored…a Ryan Mohadeo says that Abraham Nagamooto (family member of Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo) went to his home with papers in his hands and told him that he wanted to become the Chairman for Bloomfield/Whim Villages and that he needed a person to support him. Mahadeo asked him if it had anything to do with the upcoming elections and he said no…this is in the Police report. Nagamootoo then asked him to bring himself and his family to sign it which he did and Mohadeo took the paper to his family members and they signed also…so the police conclusion is that at no time was he or his family forced to sign the document” Jagdeo read from the Police report.

Questioning the case dismissal, the Opposition leader questioned whether there is a new parameter for forgery.

He questioned “So now trickery, forgery, misleading people and deception is not really deception unless you hold the person’s hand and force him to sign the paper…Nagamootoo through trickery said that the document had nothing to do with elections and got Ryan Mohadeo to sign the document…that’s a new parameter for forgery, if you do not hold the persons hand and force him to sign the document then you cannot be committed or charged for forgery any longer”?

According to the Opposition Leader,  another case of deception was recorded in the Police report where AFC supporters tricked a number of persons into signing theirs lists by claiming to be conducting Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) registration.

“Hemraj Mohadeo, Anita Mohadeo and Parvattie Thomas stated that they knew Abraham Nagamootoo for two years and sometime during the month of September 2018, they were at home when Nagamootoo went and met with them and told them that he was doing registration for the upcoming elections and that he required their ID cards and they have to sign which they all did…here in the report Nagamootoo told them that he was doing registration on behalf of GECOM, is this not trickery?” Jadgeo questioned.

According to Jagdeo, the report is replete with examples of deceit, trickery and fraudulent behaviour on the part of AFC members in procuring signatures.

He further questioned why investigators in the matter to date failed to question the alleged perpetrators in the matter even as they are being seen publicly on television denying the allegations and questioned why the Police report was not sent to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice but went directly to Justice Navindra Singh.

As such, the former President noted that his Party is seeking legal advice on the report which was ordered by Justice Singh and indicated the case could be challenged all the way to the CCJ.

“I am seeking legal advice now both on the Police report itself and on how we pursue this further because we are fighting for the rights of all Guyanese here; this is a test case to us. Whether it is concluded before the elections or not, it is not important for us but we have to get a ruling on this matter all the way maybe to the CCJ” Jagdeo revealed.

Fifty persons from the Bloomfield/Whim, Corentyne area voluntarily signed affidavits saying they were deliberately deceived into signing a document by an Alliance For Change representative who fraudulently represented that he was employed by GECOM and that they needed to sign a document to confirm that his name was on the voter’s list.

When brought to the attention of GECOM, it was argued by the Commission that the 51 persons missed a deadline to have such sorted and as such there names could not be removed from the AFC list.

PPP were challenging on the grounds that the said decision by GECOM was unlawful, illegal, and unreasonable and was in violation of the Local Authorities (Elections) Act.

The document filed at the High Court cited the individual’s alleged refusal to withdraw the applicant’s name and the names of 49 other electors. It said unless the names were withdrawn, the election in the Local Authority Area would be tainted with “illegality and fraud”.

The Party is a subsequent release on the dismissal noted, inter alia, that “no matter how much you turn it or twist it, the bottom line is these AFC candidates have 50 (fifty) persons who are on public record saying to the world that they are not supporting the candidates they are supposed to be backing. Yet the Court refused to interfere with this violation of these persons fundamental right to support a political party of their choice by removing their names from those lists.”

Local Government Elections are scheduled to be held on November 12, 2018. (Kizzy Coleman)

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