By Shikema Dey
People’s National Congress (PNC) Executive Aubrey Norton yesterday doubted that it was the APNU+AFC that presented ‘evidence’ to suggest that an East Berbice couple migrated from Guyana and did not vote at the March 2, 2020 elections despite definitive proof provided by the couple that countered the coalition’s clams.
Norton was at the time responding to questions during an interview at the National Recount Media Center based on the statement made by the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice Claudette Singh that “he who asserts must prove.”
Since the commencement of the recount, the coalition has made claims of migrants and the dead voting at the March 2 polls. While the party says that they possess evidence to support their allegations, none verifiable has been presented at the National Recount, and at least two claims have been proven to be false.
Earlier this week, APNU+AFC agent Yonette Obermuller had presented what she had claimed to be “Evidence from research” claiming that five persons had immigrated from Guyana at various points in time and did not return to vote. Among the five was Aubrey and Shirley Nicholson from Sisters Village who were supposed to, according to Obermuller’s ‘proof’, left Guyana on July 29, 2019 at 10 AM and would not have been able to vote in the 2020 elections.
As Kaieteur News has exclusively reported, the couple has not only provided evidence that they were in the country and voted, but they both voted for the coalition.
When this case was presented to Norton as a potential example of the veracity of the coalition’s allegations, he claimed ignorance.
Norton responded “Could I ask you how did you arrive the party made that claim? How did you get the evidence that we did that?”
When pressed that it was in fact the coalition that did provide the detailed document, Norton responded, “As far as I know, we give numbers. We give the numbers. Let me explain to you how this process occurs. When this process – when you’re in there, and you’re going through it, all the serial numbers, say 99, and we will ask the persons there, did 99 vote? If they said 99 vote, we say ‘according to our records, 99 is out the country’.”
He then questioned whether evidence was presented that suggested that it was the party who made the claims about the couple.
“Did you see any evidence that we called that number, that GECOM said the person was out the country and then, it appeared?”
Norton was then informed that a list was provided to Workstation 3 containing the names of the couple and others along with serial numbers departure dates, time and signed by Obermuller.
To this he replied, “Which one, East Berbice? I have no knowledge of that, I will double-check it but as far as I know, the names of the people we gave were out of the country.”
While Sisters Village is in fact in East Berbice, there was no specific mention of “East Berbice” from the reporter before Mr. Norton mentioned it.
“The names of the people we gave were out of the country,” Norton insisted, “ I will be a little cautious. I can be a little cautious about Berbice. I’ll tell you why, another time, but as far as I know, all the names we have given so far, of people who have migrated.”
Norton after being told that the couple publicly refuted the claims, maintained that no evidence was provided to suggest that it was his party that made the allegations.
“I’m not saying that they didn’t say that. What I’m saying, I don’t know that any evidence was provided that inside there we asked for that. Call that number, they said the person voted, and we then said they’re out of the country.”
Norton is the second senior Coalition executive to have disputed the veracity of the Nicholson’s, despite the evidence presented. On Tuesday, AFC executive member Leonard Craig had questioned the couple’s account of their experience on voting day.