Family’s Attorney seeks answers from Registrar General on release of death certificate
The Attorney representing the family of Chitnandani Ramdass, the deceased Essequibian woman, who the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) claimed “voted” in the March 2 polls, has written to Registrar General Louis Crawford, requesting key information in relation to the release of the woman’s death certificate.
In his letter on behalf of Puran Manbode, the dead woman’s son, Attorney Glenn Hanoman has asked the Registrar General of the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) to: provide copies of the application form requesting the death certificate, information on the identity of the person/s who requested the death certificate and copies of the payment of the $300 fee for the document.
During the course of the now three weeks-long recount, agents for the coalition have repeatedly raised objections to votes cast on the basis that the persons in question were either dead or have migrated.
These claims have since been debunked by the majority of political stakeholders.
The coalition came under severe fire recently for what many say is an abuse of State power – accessing persons’ confidential information in relation to migration and death records.
Defending the coalition’s access to the death records, caretaker Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes had told media operatives that the persons were identified by the grouping through its fieldwork and that the certificates were later applied for and the $300 fee paid.
An article was subsequently published in the State media on May 20, which identified the late Ms Ramdass as having “voted”.
The coalition’s claims only ended when information came to light that the individual’s name had not, in fact, been ticked off as having been issued a ballot.
Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall has since been in contact with the family, who supplied him with a copy of the woman’s original death certificate.
That document juxtaposed against the one published by the State media, and held up as proof by the coalition, revealed that the published document was issued on January 31 of this year.
Notably, it does not bear the identification number for the dead woman while the original certificate supplied by the family does bear the name.
Nandlall was adamant that the records in question could only be accessed by family members and that this authorisation had not been provided.
Hanoman’s letter also outlined: “Pursuant to sub-section 33 (1) and 33 (5) of the Access to Information Act, 2011, documents are exempt from disclosure if its disclosure would involve the unreasonable disclosure of information in relation to the personal affairs of a deceased person. In the case of a deceased person, the next-of-kin is the person entitled to give consent to the disclosure of the document”.
According to Nandlall, the APNU/AFC, in addition to possibly breaching the Access to Information law, could very well be guilty of a range of other electoral-related legal infractions.