Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2020, 10:12 by Denis Chabrol
General Secretary of A Partnership for National Unity, Joseph Harmon’s claims that the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has stuffed ballot boxes with fake ballots has drawn a swift and sharp reaction from that party’s executive member, Anil Nandlall.
In remarks to a select group of government-controlled media, Harmon charged that among the list of PPP-engineered irregularities is the printing of fake ballots. He justified his claim on the grounds that APNU+AFC activists have found ballot papers and their counterfoils with similar numbers.
“Our agents have detected during this recount that one specific number was found on several counterfoils. How is that possible? The question we must ask ourselves, therefore, is were there bogus ballots printed and, therefore, how widespread is this phenomenon,” he said.
But Nandlall, an executive member and Attorney-at-Law for the PPP, said Harmon’s claim was nothing more than a “brand new allegation hatched at Congress Place” , the headquarters of the People’s National Congress Reform. Nandlall disputed Harmon’s claim of fake ballots as impossible and so far the recount exercise has not found any bogus papers. “If you go into the exercise, you will see that every single ballot paper is projected on an instrument and there is a security mark that is shown to authenticate the veracity and authenticity of that ballot paper and every ballot is subject to this exercise and not in a single case has anyone so far detected a false or fraudulent ballot, ballot paper being used,” he said.
The former Attorney General claimed that two persons, who worked on polling day in South Georgetown, that three poll books were missing but the APNU+AFC won those boxes and so did not raise any objections.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is yet to decide how to handle the many objections. The Commission Chairman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh has since asked APNU+AFC to provide evidence that people voted in the names of deceased people and Guyanese who were overseas on election day, March 2, 2020.
The PPP and A New and United Guyana (ANUG) have said GECOM would have to declare the final results based on the recount and aggrieved parties would have to constitutionally challenge the results through an elections petition to the High Court.
The PPP questioned how APNU+AFC could have won the elections if the incumbent party believed that it was defrauded of more than 80,000 votes so far.