Jagdeo wants tough legislation against electoral fraud

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If voted into office at the March 2 polls, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party says it will “seriously tackle” laws on fraud surrounding Guyana’s electoral process.

At a news conference Thursday at his Church Street, Georgetown office Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) found the name of one of its backers on the list of another political party following Nomination Day on January 10.

The PPP has since replaced the name – Elroy Thomas – a resident of Region One with another PPP supporter.

But Jagdeo believes that Mr Thomas was duped into having his name on another political party’s list and so he says the PPP will be pushing for stringent laws to guard against this reoccurring in the future.

As stated in Guyana’s electoral laws, persons whose names appear as backers on a list of candidates for one political party cannot appear on the list of another party.

“Once in power… will tackle seriously laws on fraud surrounding the electoral process…to pass tough legislation. We cannot allow con men and con artists to dupe people into supporting their list or becoming candidates on their lists when those people are unsuspecting and they don’t even support them,” Jagdeo told the media.

The Opposition Leader explained that the PPP decided to replace Mr Thomas’ name in an effort to avoid any confusion at GECOM.

“We decided we will replace that name because we have thousands of supporters in Region One.

“But Mr Thomas contacted us and said ‘I never agreed to be…the backer for any other party…I support the People’s Progressive Party.’

“He [Mr Thomas] said there are individuals going around asking for names to check the voters’ list. The PPP traced this to the individual who said he was collecting the names for the Carter Center,” Jagdeo explained.

Jagdeo noted that in the future, there should be a requirement for the list of all the candidates and backers to be made public and if fraudulent acts are discovered then there should be “strong Police action.”

“It is utterly disgusting,” Jagdeo noted.

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