GECOM cannot legally use Top Cop’s falsified records ꟷ Timothy Jonas
Not only are the immigration records supplied by the Commissioner of Police to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) being discredited as false, the electoral body cannot legally or morally use the information that was supplied.
This is according to Chairman of A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Timothy Jonas, who on Wednesday questioned the issue brewing over the 172 names supplied by the Commissioner of Police as being out of the country, since, according to him, the recount exercise currently shows the Opposition Peoples Progressive Party with a lead of 15,000 votes over the incumbent.
Speaking with reporters in the makeshift centre outside of the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, the attorney-at-law recalled that GECOM Chairperson, retired Justice Claudette Singh, had in fact called on persons making allegations to prove them.
This he juxtaposed with APNU Aubrey Norton’s position that the coalition will make its allegations and that GECOM must prove the assertions.
Jonas was adamant that GECOM is not a court of law, and as such could not examine, cross-examine of take evidence from persons in regard to their immigration status on Elections Day.
According to the lawyer, the local courts of law have already determined that being outside of the country does not preclude a person from voting.
The ANUG chairman was adamant that the commission could not take extraneous information and try to incorporate it into its records.
Telling reporters that ANUG was taken aback by the Chairperson’s request — not surprised — Jonas was unyielding that the information supplied by Police Commission Leslie James count not be incorporated into GECOMs records at this stage.
Additionally, the ANUG Chairman pointed to the fact that the information supplied by James was generated using information inputted into a computer system, and he juxtaposed this with the nation’s experience with the computer-generated spreadsheet that was used by Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.
“Whatever response comes from James can’t be relied on by GECOM; its external to GECOM and is something that somebody said,” according to Jonas, as he reminded that computers do not generate information by themselves.
According to the ANUG Chairman, “We can’t blindly accept a statement from James to say these people were out of the country…remember a document printed that was called a spreadsheet that was relied on by Mr Mingo?”
Additionally, Jonas noted that as the information in the list supplied to the GECOM Chairperson became public knowledge, people started coming forward to debunk the claims in the information provided by the Police Commissioner.
He drew reference to prominent attorney-at-law Devindra Kissoon, who was registered as an observer and worked on Elections Day in addition to participating in several of the elections-related court cases that had been filed.
Jonas called the allegation on the part of the APNU/AFC counting agents hilarious, and pointed to the fact that the coalition agents would raise as many as 140 names for persons purportedly related to a particular ballot box.
He told media operatives that if six of those persons listed were found to have voted on that day, the APNU/AFC agent would object and commit to providing evidence at a later date.
This, he called a pattern in regard to the objections.
Again questioning the information supplied by the Police Commissioner, Jonas asked rhetorically what was the use of the spreadsheets and their reliability, given the experience with Mingo.
He, at this stage, questioned the spectre being raised over the 172 names supplied on the list by the Top Cop by pointing to the fact that: “Right now it looks like as if the PPP will win the recount” by as much as 15,000 votes. As such, he questioned the difference 172 votes would make, even if the allegations were proven true.
Jonas has since posited that the entire process of raising scores of objections to migrated voters together with accessing the record by the police is meant to undermine the process.
According to Jonas, the actions on the part of the APNU+AFC agents are in fact “designed to confuse and undermine what is a good process.”
Decrying the use of the already questionable information supplied by the Top Cop, Jonas suggested, “One spreadsheet should not be replaced by another spreadsheet.”
Additionally, the ANUG Chairman drew reference to the fact that with the recount exercise now focusing attention on the contentious Region Four boxes, his party will be paying particularly close attention to those ballot boxes.
According to Jonas, ANUG will be pushing to have discrepancies unearthed through the recount in regard to the figures used by Mingo being recorded.
He explained by saying that where the recount finds 70 votes for the incumbent in a particular ballot box but the figures declared by Mingo are in fact 170 votes for the incumbent, this must be recorded in the observation reports.
Jonas was adamant this would be done in part, since Mingo’s figures are in fact part of GECOM’s official records, and are not extraneous to the electoral body.
Seeking to add weight to his emphasis of the stage at which the recount is at, Jonas told reporters, “If I was anxious to not have Mingo exposed, now is the time to interrupt or slow down the process.”
ANUG, he said, is keeping a close eye with the process being in the homestretch, where it is the contentious ballots left to count.”
One box remains to be counted for Region 7, and one box remains to be counted for Region 10.