An electoral court in Brazil has ordered the ouster of the Governor of the Brazilian state of Roraima for a 2010 offence, the same man who created a furore here by appearing on a PPP/C campaign platform in Lethem on November 6, 2011.
According to the Associated Press, an official for Roraima state’s electoral court said that Governor Jose de Anchieta Junior and Deputy Governor Chico Rodrigues illegally distributed T-shirts to voters during the October 31, 2010, election in Roraima and paid campaign staff with cash, which is forbidden by law.
The official declined to be identified because she was not authorized to speak to the press. She told AP that Anchieta Junior and Rodrigues will appeal the court’s 3-2 ruling.
According to reports in the Brazilian media, this is the second time in eleven months that the Regional Electoral Court of Roraima (RR-TRE) had stripped Anchieta Júnior of his office. In the decision, the election judges upheld by three votes to two a case filed by prosecutors and said that borrowing and spending during the campaign by the governor illegal. The Court also decided that the former governor Neudo Ribeiro Campos (PP) would return to office.
The Brazilian reports said that three charges were brought by prosecutors against the chief executive. The first related to the purchase of 45,000 yellow shirts – the colour of the PSDB (Anchieta Júnior‘s party) – and distributed as campaign gifts. The second charge referred to money spent on campaign staff. The problem, according to prosecutors, was that the payment was made in cash.
The third matter related to financial transactions, including money deposited in a private transport company.
The governor’s lawyers are confident of a successful appeal but the former governor Neudo Campos believes that the sacking de Anchieta will be confirmed.
In February this year, the TRE stripped Anchieta of office for the first time over the unauthorized use of Radio Roraima during the campaign. An injunction granted by the Minister of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) Versiani Arnold enabled the governor to remain in office until Nov. 29.
Following the furore over his presence at the PPP/C meeting in Lethem on November 6, Brazil issued a statement reiterating its position of non-intervention and neutrality as it related to then impending elections.
“The Embassy of Brazil wishes to clarify the circumstances of the visit of His Excellency the Governor of the State of Roraima, José de Anchieta Junior, to Lethem on Sunday, 6th November, 2011.
“When the Governor learned about President (Bharrat) Jagdeo’s visit to Lethem he took the opportunity to visit him in order to discuss subjects related to the border as well as the integration between Roraima and Guyana.
“Governor Anchieta also had the chance to meet Donald Ramotar at a courtesy meeting. The Governor took the initiative to salute the community attending the meeting, residents of both Lethem and Bonfim.
“The Embassy of Brazil also reiterates the well known and traditional position of the Brazilian Government in favour of the principles of non-intervention and self-determination. Therefore, the Brazilian Government understands that Guyana -as well as any country- is entitled to choose their representatives in an independent, free and transparent way. Following this principle, the presence of a Brazilian authority to salute the communities at the above-mentioned meeting should not be construed as a support for any of the political parties contesting the forthcoming elections.
“The Brazilian Government expresses, therefore, its total neutrality and impartiality in the development of the electoral process in Guyana and expresses its best wishes and confidence in a successful outcome, as by all expected.”
While the statement said that the governor was only saluting the communities he did go on to praise President Jagdeo and laud his achievements.
Both APNU and the AFC had condemned the presence of the governor at the meeting and the AFC staged a protest outside of the Brazilian embassy over it.
Diplomatic observers say both the government and the governor should have been acutely aware that it was improper for Anchieta Junior and his delegation to be present at a party meeting.
The Government Information Agency reporting on the meeting said “The event was graced by Governor of the State of Roraima, José de Anchieta Junior, with whom the President met to discuss several projects that will benefit the citizens of both Guyana and Brazil.
“The Governor lauded the leadership of President Jagdeo who will be demitting Office shortly, and said that Guyana has made tremendous progress in bettering the lives of its people. He also expressed the hope for the friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries would continue under the new administration.”