Election CoI: Instruction to escort GECOM Chair from Command Centre was not mine – fmr TSU Head
…photo evidence shows tabulation laptop switched at some point
Superintendent Guy Nurse, who was in charge of the Tactical Services Unit (TSU) in March 2020, testified that the instruction to escort GECOM Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh out of the Command Centre at Ashmins Building on March 5, 2020 was not his.
He further told the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the March 2020 General and Regional Elections that even though the Unit was stationed at Police Headquarters, Eve Leary, it was on standby at the Brickdam Police Station during the 2020 polls.
In his testimony, Nurse was asked if he directed instructions to remove the GECOM Chair, to which he responded in the negative while relating that Deputy Superintendent Clifton Davis, who was in charge of the ranks, did not communicate such.
When asked when he was made aware of this, the Superintendent answered, “When they returned back, that is the only time I would have known…I wasn’t aware that they move from Brickdam to move the GECOM Commissioner. I didn’t even have that opportunity to talk to them as they returned.”
Later that day, instructions came from former Police Commissioner, Leslie James for TSU ranks to go over to the Command Centre and assist in securing the building.
It was on this day that Returning Officer (RO) Clairmont Mingo attempted to declare the results from the poll without completing the verification of the Statements of Poll – a process that had been halted several times since ballots were cast.
During that day in question, there were reports that the GECOM Chairperson was in the building reportedly being held “hostage” in a room.
Nurse added that every move of the Unit should have been recorded while performing duties but in this case, none were documented. In addition, there is no system in which these are logged and kept.
Meanwhile, PPP/C party agent responsible for tabulation, Anieshaw Mohamed also testified about the events of March 4, 2020.
Photo evidence has shown that the laptop found with GECOM Data Clerk Enrique Livan is the same laptop that was used earlier in the tabulation room to analyse the statement of polls.
Recalling events of March 4, she was told to report to Ashmins Building where the tabulation was being conducted for District Four, due to reports that there were incorrect numbers being called which did not reflect those in the Statements of Poll (SoPs).
Typically, a sealed envelope containing the SoPs is opened in the presence of everyone and tabulated. This envelope is prepared at the polling station, to which party agents are given copies.
According to her, all of her party’s 2339 SoPs were tallied by that midday. “It showed that we won the election,” Mohamed told the Commission.
When she arrived, the process was halted due to an issue. It resumed and after tabulation of about three boxes, party agents were told that the system was no longer working.
Mohamed recalled the issue was resolved and the process restarted. Shortly after, Livan left the room with the laptop and flash drive. After some time had elapsed, he did not return and a decision was made to look for him.
“I do not believe we went through one box fully and he left the room. He took control of the laptop being used, unplugged the flash drive, and place the flash drive in his pocket. It was an Acer laptop.”
When Livan was found, he was sitting and ‘evidently’ working on the laptop, with the black flash drive plugged into the equipment. He was in the presence of two women.
Within an hour, the Police were called in. Livan closed the laptop and placed his head on the desk. Livan claimed that it was not the same laptop. However, it was an Acer – like the one that was being used in the tabulation room. It was later discovered that the Acer laptop was replaced with a Dell, thus raising suspicion but Livan held out that it was the same equipment that he had in his possession when he left the room.
Mohamed provided photos of the laptop before Livan left the room and the one which he was found with, which corroborated claims of it being the same device.
“It was an Acer computer, the same one we left that we were using in the tabulation room…I proceeded to show them a picture that was in the room and it was the exact laptop,” she disclosed.