PPP rails against GECOM’s invitation for Coalition to submit evidence of electoral fraud

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The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Saturday registered its firm objections to a move by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to invite the submission of evidence by the APNU+AFC to support its claims of fraud at the March 02, 2020 polls.

PPP’s Anil Nandlall believes that if GECOM moves to investigate the allegations it will be operating outside of its scope and will be trespassing on the “functional domain of judiciary and usurping the duties and responsibilities” of the courts.

Nandlall referenced an article in Saturday’s edition of the State newspaper which quoted a letter reportedly sent by GECOM Chairman Justice (rt’d) Claudette Singh to APNU+AFC elections agent Joseph Harmon inviting him to submit the evidence of fraud.

“GECOM’s jurisdiction under the constitution is to conduct an election… which includes recounting if the occasion arises… GECOM cannot convert itself into a court and hold a trial to investigate allegations,” Nandlall told reporters outside the Arthur Chung Conference Center where the recount is ongoing.

Referencing constitutional provisions, he argued that any allegation of an unlawful act or any part of the elections having been unlawfully carried out is to be exclusively dealt with by the High Court.

“The constitution did not invest in GECOM the power to investigate allegations or hear allegations, to prove and not to prove allegations of the type being made,” Nandlall said.

Moreover, the former Attorney General believes GECOM would be acting outside of the gazetted order which guides how the recount should be conducted.

Nandlall reminded that the recount was ordered because of the inflated figures declared by Region #4 Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo in favour of the APNU+AFC coalition.

The APNU+AFC has claimed victory based on Mingo’s figures but since the recount commenced it has made several claims of electoral fraud via dead and migrated voters and other procedural anomalies.

Nandlall said those allegations will have to be investigated by way of an elections petition. He also questioned whether GECOM had the resources to hear and determine those complaints.

“GECOM is moving in a very dangerous direction by going along this path.”

He told reporters that the PPP intends to write GECOM on this issue in an attempt to persuade the electoral body against embarking on the course of action that it feels it is leaning towards.

“The PPP has nothing to hide and the PPP is not afraid of any form and any type of scrutiny but we cannot allow the process to be bastardized and used for a purpose it was not conceived to do.”

Nandlall fears chaos and confusion will erupt from this likely course of action.

The GECOM Chairman, in a recent statement, noted that she continues to monitor the trends based on the allegations in the observation reports and the Commission is yet to make a decision on the way forward.

She, however, made it clear that “he who asserts must prove.”

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