APNU/AFC claims of electoral fraud are an indictment on the GECOM Chair

Dear Editor,
Guyana’s General and Regional Elections held on March 2, 2020, was intensely scrutinised by all and sundry. The local and foreign observer missions and political parties including the incumbent APNU/AFC gave high marks to GECOM for conducting a free, fair, transparent and credible election. It is firmly established that there was no room for skullduggery. In fact, the process was scrutinised long before E-Day.
The contesting parties were given stretched out time to cleanse the PLE (Preliminary List of Electors) Their agents over a lengthy period armed with regular updated Lists of Electors were engaged in comprehensive fieldwork. The Claims and Objections period was extended at the request of political parties and so there was ample opportunity to ensure that the OLE (Official List of Electors) met the required standard for the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Having accepted and participated fully in the elections, the APNU/AFC cannot now shed crocodile tears, point to bloated list and in the same breath, most baffling, maintain their claims of victory. Make no mistake, that hypocrisy is ingrained in the PNC, it is a veiled threat for the unleashing of their brand of behaviour once they are declared the loser.
The ROs’ declarations for nine Districts was well accepted by all the contesting political parties. The largest voting bloc, District Four’s RO, Mr Mingo was doing well up until close to the halfway point when he diverted from using the SoPs to calling fictitious numbers from a spreadsheet of unknown origin and deliberately made not one but two fraudulent declarations.
The first was the subject of a court intervention, the Chief Justice issued clear instructions to the RO, Mr Mingo, on how to proceed with the tabulation using the SoPs. He went back and did worse in his second declaration and that has brought this nation down to its knees.
That action of Mr Mingo caused this country to be precariously placed on a precipice, a touch and go scenario. We are here today, close to three months and no clear declaration of a winner but the APNU/AFC continues to positively claim victory.
During the last of many court battles that flowed from Mingo’s fraudulent declarations, the GECOM Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh committed to a recount of the ballots cast for the 2020 elections but she never ceases to amaze. When the Orders were finally gazette, some obnoxious clauses were placed therein at the behest of Commissioner Vincent Alexander. The APNU/AFC continues to use the observation report to suit their nauseating narratives and spread fake news.
The ongoing recount exposes the extent of Mingo’s fraud on a daily basis and also in the process has demolished the APNU/AFC claims of victory. With defeat staring them in the face, the APNU/AFC has launched a relentless and brazen attack on the credibility of the voting process on E-Day, March 2, 2020. They have wickedly zeroed in on feeding the nation with fabricated claims of the dead and the migrated voting, missing poll books and list goes on.
They have no interest in the recounting of the ballots as such and have displayed grave contempt for the tabulation process. From claims of victory, they have now shifted to electoral fraud and rigging perpetrated by the PPP. It is nonsensical to accuse the PPP of rigging when the elections were conducted by the GECOM. It is public knowledge that the GECOM Secretariat is stacked with APNU/AFC sympathisers. So, one can counterclaim that their staff’s hiring for the March 2, 2020 elections would have been more sympathetic to the APNU/AFC. Christopher Jones and Sherod Duncan on their daily APNU/AFC live shows from the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, supported by other presenters, claimed to have written the GECOM to investigate their thousands of unsubstantiated assertions of Presiding Officers and other staff conspiring with the PPP and rigged the elections.
The head of the EU Mission recently stated that there was ‘safeguard over the safeguard’ for the voting process on March 2, 2020, and maintained that all was well until Mingo performed his rigging stunt. On Friday the May 29, 2020, Mr Christopher Jones, during one of his regular outbursts, accused Presiding Officers of committing fraud and called for them to be jailed for that offence.
Every law-abiding citizen would agree that anyone who commits a fraud must be punished for their crime. Mr Christopher Jones’ allegations of fraud on the part of Presiding Officers is unproven but he seems to be suffering from amnesia when it comes to the fraud committed by RO Mingo at the Ashmins building in front of the world. With the incriminating evidence provided by the ongoing recount of Mingo’s fraud, one wonders why the GECOM is not calling in the police to investigate the matter.
Harmon’s recent videoed sermon speaks volumes. He opens up and ends claiming victory for the APNU/AFC at the elections. In between and consistent with other presenters of the APNU/AFC, he reels out the unsubstantiated avowals of dead, migrated and other malpractices on voting day.
He accuses the entire GECOM machinery on polling day of skullduggery and of conspiring with the PPP to commit fraud. It is insinuated that numbers of Polling Stations were staffed on March 2, 2020, by the PPP and not the GECOM. The APNU/AFC, by claiming that the PPP was able to pull off a feat of such magnitude, are accusing their own three GECOM Commissioners of double-crossing them by conspiring with the PPP. He even went further with new claims of fake ballots.
It is utter rubbish to say which ballot a particular elector voted on. The voter identity cannot be known, the voting process protects the secrecy of the ballot. The intermixing of the Disciplined Services ballot nullifies that claim. So, when Mr Harmon speaks of the Disciplined Services ballot not being stamped with the six-digit numbers, he is out of touch with reality.
Him bringing in the Disciplined Services into the fray is treading on dangerous grounds. He is riling up the sentiments of the Disciplined Forces for some kind of sinister plots, it is signalling of the dangers going forward. One is reminded of the Hugh Desmond Hoyte ‘kit and kin’ sloganeering threats.
It is the same old PNC. Guyana has nosedived into an uncivilised world, back in time. Increasingly we are becoming the laughing stock of the free world. All this backwardness is with compliments of the type of leadership provided by the APNU/AFC, more so since the March 2, 2020 elections.
APNU/AFC claims of electoral fraud is an indictment on the GECOM Chair. The deafening silence of the Chairperson, Retired Judge Claudette Singh, is not only mind-boggling but quite irritating and leads to a wide range of speculation. The silence from the GECOM is playing into the hands of the APNU/AFC and is giving them a free pass to promulgate their mischief.
With the APNU/AFC vociferous and relentless attack on the GECOM staff, no response seems to be forthcoming from Madam Chairperson neither the PRO. The buck stops with the Chairman of the GECOM. The fraudulent acts of Mr Mingo have also gone unchallenged by the GECOM. The continued decimation of the diligent men and women hired by the GECOM for the March 2, 2020 elections by the APNU/AFC has fallen on deaf ears, no condemnation from the GECOM. Should there be any form of discontent at the final declaration of the National Recount process then the GECOM Chairperson will not escape blame.
The present generation and those to come will hold the GECOM Chairman responsible by refusing to do the job that is entrusted in the office she holds. Madam Claudette Singh will be judged by history.
The two weeks ahead of us are very critical for Guyana given the historical behaviours of the PNC and how well they can restrain themselves in the face of defeat this time around. It is incumbent on caretaker President Granger and his other top leaders to show maturity consistent with modern-day civilised behaviours to ensure Guyana wins.

Parasram Persaud