Last Updated on Thursday, 18 June 2020, 12:34 by Denis Chabrol
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Thursday morning warned Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield that he could be jailed for life if he does not use the tabulated results from the national vote recount.
The PPP issued the warning after a Stabroek News newspaper report quoted Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan as saying that legal technicalities can see the electoral scale being tipped in favour of the coalition to be declared the winner.
Calling such an offence most grievous, the PPP says the Chief Elections Officer can be sentenced to a maximum life imprisonment if he is found guilty of such an offence. There has been no investigation in this regard and he has not been charged.
“Any report prepared without using the totals of the valid votes cast, which he has already submitted to the Commission, would amount to a conspiracy to commit electoral fraud at Common Law, a most grievous offence, which can attract a severe a penalty as life imprisonment. Those who are in the conspiracy with him are exposed to the same criminal liabilities,” the PPP said.
Lowenefiled is expected to submit his report to the GECOM Chairman for the final declaration of results of general elections held in March. The tabulated results from the recount at each of the 10 electoral districts and the countrywide tabulated total are described as “total valid votes cast.”
However, there is uncertainty in some quarters that Mr. Lowenfield may strip the tabulated results of those that are tainted by alleged irregularities such as voter impersonation and absence of official lists of electors and other statutory documents.
Lowenfield indicates that votes not affected by anomalies/irregularities and voter impersonation amount to 185,302 votes.
If Lowenfield’s figures are accepted by the seven-member commission, it would mean the PPP would get 56,627 votes and A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) will get 125,010 and the remainder going to several small parties.
This in stark contrast to the recount that shows that of the 460,352 valid votes cast, APNU+AFC got 217,920 and the PPP 233,336. The three ‘joinder’ parties- A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) and The New Movement (TNM) got a total of 5,214 votes, but Lowenfield’s extraction of votes not affected gives the trio a total of 1,650. LJP got no votes in Regions One and Four in the CEO’s figures.
APNU+AFC Election Agent, Joseph Harmon again stressed that the Chief Elections Officer must only use untainted votes.
“We are saying that the Chief Elections Officer, given his own report to the commission and the subsequent request of the Chairman, must use only the votes that had all supporting statutory documents in the ballot boxes when they were recounted.
These, by law, are the only valid votes in a clearly tainted process. Impure and illegal votes cannot be used to arrive at valid votes and a legal result,” Harmon said on APNU+AFC’s Facebook page.
The GECOM Chairman has already said that anyone aggrieved by the results should go to court through an elections petition. The Chairman has also said that GECOM does not have the constitutional power to scrap an election.
The Chief Elections Officer has already shaved off of 275,050 votes is very close to APNU+AFC’s claim that the validity of 257,173 votes have been affected. The 275,050 votes that the Chief Elections Officer extracted includes 133,686 for impersonation for which he largely depended on immigration records and death certificates