The APNU+AFC coalition has now embarked on a campaign against the credibility of the March 2 General and Regional Elections, with tabulations of all of the irregularities it claims have been unearthed during the National Recount, with the clearest case so far being made so far by PNCR Executive Aubrey Norton while addressing the media yesterday.
“Now, what this is illustrating,” Norton said, “is that the process teems with irregularities. From the inception, I said it cannot be considered to be anomalies anymore. This is a clear case of electoral fraud and rigging.”
Norton statement represents the most explicit argument against the credibility of an election that observers have labeled as free and fair, and until only recently the Coalition was ready to swear in incumbent President David Granger on.
For two weeks, the party has been asked by reporters to provide an accumulation of the irregularities it claimed it began noticing since late last year, during the claims and objections exercise. Though the party has now provided a purported breakdown such an accumulation, it has not provided any evidence to support the 1,602 claims it is making.Speaking to reporters last evening at the National Recount Media Centre, Norton sought to draw a nexus between ballots more likely to be rejected and votes cast in favour of
APNU+AFC. He also sought to draw a nexus between ballots likely to be rejected and APNU+AFC strongholds. The general claim is that the PPP/C has compromised GECOM’s presiding officers and other E-Day staff, who in turn have made efforts to invalidate the votes of persons who were likely to have voted for the coalition by, for instance, handing them unstamped ballots.The party has published numbers using different media. One table was posted by the APNUAFC Facebook page, used widely to put out information and carry live feeds from the party. Another table was posted by PNC/R executive member, James Bond. The party claimed, in the table first posted by Bond that an examination of 627 boxes showed irregularities which amounted to 1,582.About the same time Norton was undertaking his presentation last night, another table was posted on the Coalition’s Facebook page, claiming that an examination of 699 ballot boxes in five regions unearthed 1,602 irregularities. This appeared to be an update to the first table. But while some of the numbers on that table aligned with Norton’s numbers, others differed.
Pointed to a statement by GECOM Chair, Claudette Singh that “He who asserts, must prove,” Norton said that he has no issue with such an expectation.
“I understand it’s a legal concept, and when is time for proof, it will be there,” he stated.After purporting that there is clear evidence of electoral fraud and rigging, Norton stated “An election cannot be credible if it is filled with illegalities, if it is filled with fraud.”
Despite this claim, CARICOM, which has sent a scrutineering team to observe the national recount, is of the view that irregularities did not occur during the Election, only during the count. This is evidenced by a statement from Permanent Representative of Barbados to the OAS, Ambassador Noel Lynch on behalf of the CARICOM Group during a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council. He stated “We are mindful, Mr. Chairman, that irregularities occurred not in the system by which the Guyanese electorate cast their votes on March 2nd, but in the presentation of the count afterwards.”
President David Granger, who briefly met with the press after visiting the site of the National Recount on Sunday, revered the role of CARICOM, in Lynch’s words, as “the most legitimate interlocutor” on the Guyana situation.
Granger had said that, as a reliable partner in Guyana’s development, he is obliged to work with the CARICOM team. Granger said that he is not dismissive of CARICOM’s efforts, and that he does not disparage the CARICOM team.
“I would like to see that mission succeed, the President had said, “So that is where we stand.”
Kaieteur News attempted to reach out to the President’s spokesperson Ariana Gordon last night, via Whatsapp for an official comment. There was no response. Kaieteur News also attempted to call Gordon. One phone number rang out, and the other went to voicemail.
Coalition starts campaign against elections credibility
May 23, 2020 , https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...ections-credibility/