Apparent fake letter with fake Granger signature sent to GECOM
An apparent fake letter with a fake signature belonging to former President David Granger has been sent to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
The letter asks GECOM to extract the names of Aubrey Norton and Volda Lawrence to sit in Parliament as replacements for Nicolette Henry and Joseph Harmon, who both resigned from the National Assembly.
A top GECOM official Tuesday confirmed that the secretariat of the electoral body had received two letters purportedly sent by Granger in relation to the two existing vacancies for the APNU+AFC Opposition in the National Assembly.
The first of the letters sought to notify GECOM of the vacancies; a second letter received this week instructed the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of GECOM to take action to fill the vacancies with Aubrey Norton, Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform – the largest party in the APNU+AFC Coalition – and longstanding PNC/R member and former Health Minister Volda Lawrence.
GECOM has, however, not taken action since the signature on the letter does not seem to be authentic when a comparison is made to previous signatures of Granger.
An Executive Member of the PNC/R, who worked closely with the former President, has also confirmed with the News Room that the signature on the letter sent to GECOM is not the “official signature” of Granger.
Granger as the Representative of the List is tasked with writing to GECOM for the body to extract names and declare the recommended persons to be duly elected in order to be sworn in as Members of Parliament.
But the signature on the letter, when put alongside Granger’s signature on previous Bills he signed into law appears to be fake.
Interestingly, the letter stated it was from the “Office of the Former President” with a PO Box address in Georgetown but there is no such office.
The News Room understands that GECOM is now seeking to contact Granger to confirm whether the letter did indeed originate from him.
The News Room made several calls to Granger on Tuesday but they went unanswered.
A usually reliable source said the two persons decided on by the PNC/R are in fact Norton and Lawrence.
With those names decided on by the PNC/R’s Central Executive Committee and sent to Granger, he is expected to submit those names to GECOM.
The source on Tuesday, also said that the selection of Lawrence to fill the second vacancy in Parliament alongside Norton was done by the PNC/R Leader and a select few and not by the Central Executive Committee of the PNC/R.
On Monday, Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir said he is ready to have the two vacancies on the Opposition side of the House filled as early as the next sitting of the National Assembly.
“If the names reach me before the next sitting of Parliament those persons will be sworn in,” the Speaker said.
Nadir could not say on Monday when the next sitting of the National Assembly will be, but confirmed that he has written to Granger as the Representative of the List, notifying him of the vacancies.
Granger has not yet responded and Nadir has made it clear that regardless of how long it takes, that is not his concern.
Nicolette Henry resigned as an APNU+AFC Parliamentarian on February 03, 2022, but it took effect on March 31.
Meanwhile, Joseph Harmon first resigned as Opposition leader on January 26, 2022 under immense pressure to do so and later as a Member of Parliament with that resignation taking effect on March 15.
With the Speaker already notifying Granger of the vacancies, once he writes to GECOM, the electoral body is tasked with certifying that the recommendations are persons who can rightly be deemed elected officials and declare them in correspondence to the Leader of the List to be duly elected and can be sworn in.
The Representative of the List is expected to inform the Speaker of GECOM’s declaration after which the persons can be sworn in.
If Norton passes this stage, he is tipped to become the next Leader of the Opposition. Norton is not only Leader of the PNC/R, but he is also the Chairman of the APNU – a position he took up in February after Granger resigned.
The Speaker is also expected to convene a meeting of all Opposition MPs after the vacancies are filled at which time a new Opposition Leader will be selected.