Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 October 2021, 21:46 by Denis Chabrol
People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) executive member, Aubrey Norton has vowed to wage a vigorous campaign for a fresh national voters’ list to reduce the possibility of cheating if he is elected as leader of his party.
“One of the first things I would launch is a campaign for a new voters list. Your ability to ensure you minimise fraud is dependent on a clean list,” he said.
The PNCR’s long-overdue congress is expected to be held no later than December 13.
Mr. Norton reasoned that if there are 100,000 votes to “play around with” there would be electoral fraud even with “the best persons” responsible for voting.
Speaking at a virtual town hall meeting organised by Politics 101 With David Hinds, Mr. Norton said a clean voters’ roll is key to grappling with racial insecurities especially during elections. “One of the things that is very, very critical to elections is race relations. We have to work to get elections right or else there will always be those problems; whichever side wins, there will always be skepticism,” he said.
The then opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) had vehemently resisted house-to-house registration in for the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections, instead stating that the claims and objections period could resolve concerns about the list such as the removal of the names of dead persons and the transfer to new addresses.
Guyana’s courts have ruled that constitutionally the National Register of Registrants could not be discarded and that any Guyanese abroad enjoyed the right to return home to vote in the district in which he or she was last registered.
The PNCR-led coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has accused the PPPC of electoral theft. But the PPPC has counter-charged that it was the coalition that had attempted to steal the election by mainly manipulating the statements of poll to show a wide margin of victory in Region Four.
A national vote recount has proven otherwise and since then several former and current officials of the Guyana Elections Commission and two PNCR members have been charged with electoral fraud.
But Mr. Norton on Tuesday said it was the PPP that has had a history election rigging. “The PPP has always been preparing to ‘thief’ elections. The PPP has mastered the art of rigging while calling others riggers,” he said.
The former PNCR General Secretary said that, along with a revamped voters list, his party would educate supporters and polling day officials. “Continuous training of our support base to know their rights on election day and to teach them how to manage and scrutinise an election and know when to take on the PPP activists in the communities so that they don’t get their way,” he said.
Mr. Norton cited the need for a “robust” PNCR on the ground to object to PPP activists being named as a Returning Officer or GECOM official and “oppose it and get them out.”