Facing its toughest electoral battle in 23 years, Guyana’s People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) Sunday night accused the opposition of plotting to create confusion and steal next week’s general and regional elections.
Addressing thousands of persons at a rally at Bath Settlement, West Coast Berbice, President Donald Ramotar urged vigilance against the stuffing of ballot boxes near the end of polling day and collusion between the opposition and Presiding Officers to prevent ballots from being stamped. “Some of the Presiding Officers do no stamp the ballots and when they come to count the votes, they reject them as spoilt ballots,” he said. He stressed that the ballots must be stamped in two places and voters must ensure that the Presiding Officers do so.
“What they do particularly in PNC (People’s National Congress) strongholds coming late in the afternoon- 5 or 5:30 in the afternoon- they tend to want to storm the area and vote out the ballot papers that are there,” he said.
Ramotar, who is his party’s presidential candidate, claimed that the opposition coalition plans to steal at least 50 votes at every polling station to deprive the PPPC of at about five or six seats. The Guyanese leader publicly alerted the elections commission, security forces and international observers to ensure that there are no such occurrences.
The participation of citizens in reporting unofficial results by taking pictures of Statements of Poll with their telephones through a mechanism being set up by the opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) came in for a blistering attack by former President, Bharrat Jagdeo. “You know all they have to do is to change two of those Statements of Poll, white them out, photocopy them and post them Online so that when the official results come out and they don’t match they use that as an excuse to say they were cheated and bring their hordes on the streets so that needs to be condemned too,” he said.
In a similar vein, Jagdeo condemned APNU+AFC candidate, James Bond for posting on Facebook that 90 percent of the security forces voted Saturday in favour of the coalition whose major partner is the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR). The former Guyanese leader argued that Bond’s action was a prime example of the opposition believing that it could again control the military and police as it had done during the 1970s and 1980s. “Remember we talk about subverting the military, we talk about subverting the police. Well, it has already started because if you are trying t paint the Disciplined Services as being partisan, as pro-PNC then you are basically going back to something that this country that Granger championed and that is the paramountcy of the party,” he said.
Jagdeo wants Bond to be charged for posting fake election results, adding that Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission Dr. Steve Surujbally and Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield to apply the relevant laws to counter organised attempts to create confusion on election day. “There is a pattern to all of this and if we don’t put a stop to it now then on Election Day there shall be consequences for this country,” said Jagdeo.
A senior GECOM official, however, told Demerara Waves Online News that Bond did not commit any offence but the Commission encourages Guyanese to pay attention to the official results that would be delivered by the elections management authority. Reacting to a condemnation by the Chairman of the Joint Services, Brigadier Mark Phillips, Bond said he acquired the figures from an exit poll.
PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee called on supporters to ensure that they turn out in large numbers on May 11, 2015 to ensure that their party win by a wide margin and remove any doubt about the victory. “We must from tomorrow, each and every one of you, irrespective of where you came from must go out there and be a soldier for the PPPC- work the grounds, knock at every single door, speak to every single one. This elections is to too dear to lose it,” he said.
He disclosed that 6,899 persons in Region Five did not vote in Region Five, while another 3,000 voted for the Alliance For Change (AFC). Rohee said the “major task ahead of us” was to retain the 13,000 odd votes, regain those that went to the AFC and win the 6,409 newly registered voters.