APNU claims PPP forged some backers’ signatures; no effort made to win over PPP supporters- Norton

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 April 2023, 13:24 by Denis Chabrol

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Aubrey Norton on Tuesday accused the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) of forging the signatures of backers for a number of its candidates in the June 12, 2023 Local Government Elections.

He promised that evidence would be provided to the media to support APNU’s allegations of forgery which have been dispatched to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and hopefully police action would be taken. “I believe that these are matters of fraud and we have to pursue them at the level of law enforcement. We are going to possibly bring private criminal charges against some,” he said. GECOM is required to verify the names of the candidates and the backers before they are accepted or rejected. He said one person signed for several persons at Woodlands-Bel Air neighbourhood district.

Against the backdrop of APNU’s claims that the PPP has paid  numerous Afro-Guyanese to become candidates and others to wear PPP campaign jerseys to give the impression that the central governing party was attracting more Black support, Mr Norton was asked why APNU was unable to have anyone come forward to state publicly that he or she had been paid.  He, instead, challenged the media to find those persons and deal with them anonymously but later said he would make efforts to locate someone who would be willing to testify on camera. “As journalists, you all need to go there and get it. There are people there who we know that admitted that they were paid; in Plaisance, in Linden all around. I can probably check to see if people are willing to come and say it on camera,” he said.

With former APNU+AFC-affiliated City Mayor Patricia Chase-Greene and APNU+AFC councillor Trichria Richards defecting to the PPP for the local elections in Georgetown, how was it that APNU was unable to attract younger and more prominent persons particularly from the PPP given the numerous opposition claims of bad governance? “We weren’t working on getting people from the PPP to come to us. Secondly, when a government is in power, they tend to hold their membership and so I anticipate that they would hold their membership. We didn’t set out to pull anybody from the PPP. We set out to have our lists with young, credible people. Our list has a mix of skills and I think a lot of people have not paid attention to the entire list and to recognise that there are people there who have the skills that can run a city,” he said.

He said an assessment of Ms Chase-Green’s performance showed that she was “unpopular” and rejected by her constituency , that having been the reason why she was not elected as Mayor around the horseshoe table in annual elections. Mr Norton said the PNCR was aware that Ms Chase-Greene had shifted her support to the PPP. According to Mr Norton, she did nothing as the constituency representative and so her defection would not negatively impact on APNU.

The PNCR and APNU Leader said every effort would be made to scrutinise the voters lists due to persistent opposition concerns that they are padded with the names of deceased persons and emigrants which could allow for voter impersonation. “We will seek to strengthen our scrutinising of the election and minimise any illegalities,” he said. Mr Norton restated that the APNU decided to contest the elections to block the PPP from dominating the entire country.