Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo fears that the APNU+AFC-led coalition government plans to rig future elections by setting the stage to register thousands of underage persons.
Addressing hundreds of persons at Babu John, Port Mourant, Corentyne on Sunday, March 6, 2016 in honour of late People’s Progressive Party founder-leader, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, the Opposition Leader reasoned that the voters list could appear clean but the party needed to guard against padding with under-aged persons.
“Even if we have a clean registration and the fraudulent birth certificates -they give out 10,000 birth certificates through that ministry to underage people then those people will be registered and it’s stacked against us too,” he said.
Jagdeo suggested that the separation of births and deaths registration from the Ministry of Public Security
(previously the Ministry of Home Affairs) and putting it in the hands of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Winston Felix was possibly part of a plan to register thousands of persons to meet voting age.
The former Guyanese leader vowed that his party would fight for a fair system to recruit Presiding Officers and other elections personnel. “We have to fight to minimise the capricious behaviour of some of these presiding officers. We have to fight for a fairer system of the recruitment of presiding officers,”
Noting that the PPP’s request for public vetting of polling day staff ahead of last year’s general elections to weed out “hardcore APNU supporters,” was scuttled by the three pro-APNU commissioners and GECOM Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally, he called for a transparent system of recruiting Presiding Officers and other officials.
“The integrity of the election has to do with the quality and the integrity of GECOM itself and therefore if ut does not have the integrity, if it is partisan in outlook, if it is instiutionally biased against the PPP then already we are going into sn election stacked against us,” he said.
The PPP also believes that it stands a greater chance of regaining central government power if there is electronic voting to prevent the stuffing of ballot boxes with left over ballots at the end of polling day. “We have to fight tooth and nail to get electronic voting in the system so that when you go there, there are no extra ballots in the afternoon to give out in numbers,” he said.
Other measures, he said, the PPP would be clamouring for include making electoral fraud by ordinary citizens and GECOM officials before an elections an offence.
Jagdeo also called for GECOM to launch an international investigation about the fraudulent statements of poll that he said were designed to thwart the will of the people last yeat.
He also reiterated concerns that the Returning Officers in Regions Four and Eight did not allow the PPPC’s requests for a recount.