APNU/AFC agent admits party has no evidence of migrant voters
…but wants GECOM to still probe ‘hearsay’ claims
The coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) has, over the past two weeks of the national recount exercise, repeatedly claimed to be in possession of “evidence” that persons who had migrated ahead of Election Day had their names listed as voted, calling into question the authenticity of the votes recorded as cast for the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
This, in addition to “evidence”, to support its claims that dead persons also voted.
It turns out, however, the coalition does not have any evidence to support these claims and is in fact calling on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to investigate its ‘hearsay’ claims.
The confession was made by APNU/AFC counting agent Ganesh Mahipaul, during a media engagement on Tuesday on the sidelines of the national recount exercise underway at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).
Mahipaul told media operatives that the coalition did not in fact have access to the immigration records.
According to the APNU/AFC representative, the information was instead gathered through field work done by its membership which was then consolidated into a list of likely suspects.
These names, he said, are then checked against the serial numbers on the Official List of Electors (OLE), in order to have the recount supervisor ascertain whether the names had been ticked off as having voted.
Asked to present the media with some form of evidence for which the APNU/AFC is making its ‘credible claims’, Mahipaul told reporters: “Not going to attempt to present what is to be presented, because we have to confirm first in the counting stations that the persons voted by way of having their names ticked.”
According to Mahipaul, at least one death certificate has been submitted to GECOM and other agents are in possession of hundreds.
He was unable to identify the name on the certificate that has been presented.
Asked about the ones that the coalition plans to submit as part of its future objections, he told media operatives, “I will explore the option and I will happily come back once I have a certificate to present.”
Adamant that the populace must not be misguided into thinking that the coalition was not in fact making baseless allegations, but asked again to provide any sort of evidentiary material to support his claim, Mahipaul responded “I will come back to you.”
Despite telling media operatives of being in possession of hundreds of death certificates that he intended to produce to the Commission, he told media operatives that he did not in fact have any with him at the time and that these could be produced at a later time.
He then went on to disclose that at the counting station he is working – counting station five – he has not in fact made any objections based on allegations of dead voters but rather those alleged to have migrated.
Asked to address those claims being made against persons who were alleged to have migrated, Mahipaul told media operatives this information came to the party “based on our field work where their own family members would have confirmed to us”.
Asked specifically whether he or the coalition was in possession of any immigration records to support the repeated claims, he responded in the negative.
According to Mahipaul, “what I presented to the station were the serial numbers and the date when they left the country”.
Pressed again for the supporting evidence for the claims being made, Mahipaul told media operatives “the time for evidence will come”.
According to the APNU/AFC agent, it is for GECOM to now decide what it will be doing with the observations and “if GECOM says that they want this evidence, then we will have to get the evidence”.
He suggested too “if GECOM says that they will do an investigation, they will do an investigation.”
The APNU/AFC agent conceded that an opportunity is provided for by GECOM to submit evidence, but this has not happened “because we have gotten the information from field work; we do not have access, at least I do not have access to immigration records, nor do I have access to any other physical evidence.”
He was adamant, however, “what I have is confirmation from family members of these people that are on the list and they said that their family member was not in the country to vote.”
Additionally, Mahipaul confessed that none of the death certificates purportedly in his possession have been submitted to the Commission as yet, since when the checks were made, it is determined that the listed names were not in fact registered as having collected a ballot to cast a vote.
This, after telling media operatives that he was yet to make an objection based on the death of a person.
He was adamant, nonetheless, that as it related to the migration records for which the claims were being made, the Commission was empowered to source those documents on its own, based on the ‘hearsay’ allegations being made.