Norton says he will produce the APNU+AFC election SOPs

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Two years after the APNU+AFC’s blatant attempt to rig the March 2020 general elections, Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton offered to provide the government with Statements of Poll (SoPs) that would purportedly show a victory for the coalition.

The offer was made as Norton engaged Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo in a rare occurrence at the European Union (EU) organised Europe Day reception held at the Georgetown Club on Camp Street on Monday evening.

For the past two years, the APNU+AFC has not produced their SoPs which they insist show that they won the 2020 elections.

Jagdeo laughed during the “political banter” as he dismissed Norton’s offer to produce the SOPs as “gaff” even as the Opposition Leader used the engagement to challenge the Vice President to a public debate on the 2020 elections.

Jagdeo, in turn, told Norton that he would only engage him seriously on the March 2020 elections if he would provide the SoPs that the coalition maintained to have in their possession but had never released to the public.

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo and Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton in a heated discussion at the Europe Day reception held at the Georgetown Club (Photo: News Room/May 9, 2022)

Norton then said he would only provide the SoPs if Jagdeo agreed to a public debate with a “proper moderator.”

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) had released their SoPs days after the March 02, 2020 elections which showed a victory for Irfaan Ali and the PPP/C.

A recount of the votes several weeks later also confirmed that the PPP/C had won the elections.

Two years later, Norton is challenging the recount which was accepted by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and all international observer missions in Guyana at the time.

While Norton was commenting on the details of the recount process, the Vice President was heard asking if he (Norton) had read the Observation Reports from CARICOM, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) or whether he knows how the recount process is done in keeping with the Representation of the People’s Act (ROPA).

The 2020 elections were marred by controversy after officials from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), with the support of APNU+AFC, attempted to change the results in favour of the coalition.

One of the fraudulent declarations carried the signature of former Health Minister and APNU Executive Volda Lawrence.

Lawerence is now a Member of Parliament and she and others from GECOM have been charged in relation to the attempts of rigging.

It should be noted that GECOM, in October 2021, turned over certified copies of Statements of Poll and Statements of Recount (SORs) from the March 2020 elections to the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court where several persons are being investigated for electoral fraud.

It came after a March 2021 ruling where Chief Justice Roxane George ordered that the SoPs and SoRs be handed over to the court for safekeeping.

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