PPP, APNU trade accusations of Local Govt Elections irregularities; Jagdeo accuses APNU of intimidation

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 April 2023, 17:33 by Denis Chabrol

Mr. Aubrey Norton Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Thursday accused each other of irregularities in the nomination process for the June 12, 2023 Local Government Elections, even as the PPPC said its main opponent was contesting in only 45 percent of the constituencies.

APNU provided letters of 13 persons mainly in the Union-Naarstigheid Local Authority Area who said they never agreed to their names being signatories to the PPPC list of candidates and  asked that they be erased. “I have never put my signature on their list and neither I have consented to be on their list. I want my name to be removed with immediate effect,” the individual letters dated April 17, 2023 to the Returning Officers state.

PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, however, said accused two PNCR activists of driving fear into a number of persons and asked them to sign letters which have one common template. “It is pure intimidation. The people are scared. We can put in additional names. We can find the additional names and these are backers. These are not candidates. They are threatening the people and their candidates and you know when people live in these areas, they are fearful,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

Mr Jagdeo said his party was also uncovering similar instances in which hundreds of people have come forward saying that they never agreed to be part of the Local Government Elections slates for APNU. “We are aware that Mr Norton’s party has forged many candidates, their signatures, placed them on lists that they never had any knowledge of. They forged signatures for the backers and we are taking steps to address this matter,” he said.

In that regard, he welcomed the PNCR/APNU Leader’s stance to send a list to the electorate that intended representatives should not engage in electoral fraud.

He also said his party was set to be declared the winner in 283 of the 610 constituencies in the 70 neighbourhood local authorities and 10 municipalities as no other party was contesting in them.

Mr Jagdeo disputed claims by Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and APNU, Aubrey Norton’s position that his political organisation was fielding in candidates in almost all local authorities except for two or three. The PPP General Secretary instead said APNU is contesting in 279 of the 610 constituencies or 24 of the 80 Local Authority Areas. “Forty-five percent can’t be equated to virtually all of the constituencies so he just lied to the entire country,” he said.  Overall, he said APNU and other contestants would be vying in 327 of the 610 constituencies. “This is for a national party like the APNU to contest in only 45 percent of the constituencies in the country is a total disaster for that party under his leadership,” he added.

The two major parties also traded accusations of fraud and impersonation in the nomination papers that were submitted on Monday to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).