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APNU+AFC claims 1,500 votes jeopardised by PPP “fraud, rigging”, ANUG says same votes being recounted

Aubrey Norton

The incumbent A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) on Friday claimed it so so far uncovered a total of 1,528 anomalies, accusing the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) of rigging the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

“We have moved from anomalies to clear fraud and rigging,”  Executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton  told a news briefing outside the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown where the national recount of votes continues.

He said in Region One, 59 people voted without Certificates of Employment, 110 in Region Two; 5 in Region Three, 69 in Region Four strongholds of the People’s Progressive Party, and 7 in Region Five, bringing the total to 250. He said so far people have voted in the names of 37 deceased persons for whom death certificates are being obtained. Norton added that 1,098 persons so far voted in the names of people who were overseas on Election Day- 40 persons in Region One voted in the names of persons who are overseas, 279 in Region Two, 408 in Region Three, 310 in Region Four and 61 in Region Five. Norton further alleged that 143 people voted without Oaths of Identity although they did not have National Identification Cards- 33 in Region One, 7 in Region Two, 25 in Region Three, 59 in Region Four and 19 in Region Five.

“What this is demonstrating is that the process teems with irregularities,” he said.

Norton says another 8,000 eligible voters from the police, army and prison service may have had their votes jeopardised because many might have been intermixed without being stamped with six digits to validate them.

Timothy Jonas

Norton shied away from saying whether he believed those anomalies will affect the outcome of the general and regional elections, instead saying that the Guyana Elections Commission will have to decide whether the polls were credible. “I an saying to you it’s not solely a numbers game,” he said.

Latest figures show  that of 172,443 valid votes recounting so far from 928 boxes , the PPP has won 98,978 votes and APNU+AFC 70,542, with Regions One and Two already certified as having been won by the PPP. In Region Four, only 225 of the 879 boxes have been counted so far and no box for Regions 8, 9 and 10 has been counted.

Moments earlier, Chairman of A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Timothy Jonas questioned the sincerity of APNU+AFC’s claims, saying the coalition had claimed victory shortly after the March 2, 2020 general elections and was even willing to have its presidential candidate David Granger be sworn in for a second straight term. “When the original statement was done and Mr. (Clairmont) Mingo read his report, APNU said ‘we won these elections and we are satisfied with how the count of these ballots was done. Here we are counting the same ballots; we are not counting different ballots, we are not counting different pieces of paper…The same ballots that we are now counting that APNU was happy to accept a victory when Mr. Mingo counted them but now we are all in there counting them independently and transparently, APNU doesn’t want to see the results of that count,” said Jonas. “APNU are now introducing questions with how many pieces of paper are in the box,” he said.

For Jonas, the count is about the number of votes that were actually in the 2,339 ballot boxes because no evidence has been provided to prove that people voted in the names off deceased and emigrants or under the guise of being elections day staff.

Opposition MP and former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall

But Norton maintained that the elections was not merely about the number of ballots in the boxes but about unearthing irregularities for GECOM to determine it is credible. “This count is about credibility. This is about the credibility of an election. An election cannot be deemed as credible if it is filled with illegalities, if is filled with fraud and  so to talk about this being a numbers game- yes there are numbers to be counted- but there are also numbers to be deducted for illegalities,” he said.

Norton declined to say whether the President should be sworn in based on the results that APNU+AFC is questioning, instead restating that GECOM would be provided with evidence to prove that “a lot of persons have migrated.”

But the PPP’s Anil Nandlall said so far the recount shows that the Region Four Returning Office, under the management of Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, allocated 4,495 votes to APNU+AFC and reduced the PPP’s votes by 758. He said Norton spewed “the most ridiculous litany of allegations by made for a long while by Norton.”

Nandlall noted that APNU+AFC was only objecting to names in PPP strongholds. The former Attorney-General said there is no provision in the gazetted recount order for proof of irregularities to be provided to the commission.