The PPP/C is adamant that it will be filing an election petition to contest the results of the just concluded general and regional elections and according to executive member Anil Nandlall the party has time left in which it can take this step.
Asked for an update during a press conference on Thursday, Nandlall reiterated that the PPP/C is “committed to the filing of an elections petition”.
He said that the timeframe in which they have to file has not expired and went on to explain that that period begins from the time the results are published in the official gazette. “That has happened and the time is running. So it will be filed within the prescribed time frame”, he told reporters.
Nandlall said that the party is yet to be furnished with the information requested by head of its list, former president Donald Ramotar. In the days following the elections, the party had requested that it be outfitted with copies of the results from each polling station as well as copies of the Statements of Poll (SoPs) which Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield used to calculate the results. They have also requested a report from the Information Technology Department of Gecom. The party had complained that there had been no response to several follow up letters sent to Lowenfield.
The PPP/C has refused to accept that the APNU+AFC alliance has won this year’s elections despite the fact that international observers gave the polls a clean bill of health.
During an interview with Stabroek News late last month, Nandlall had said that the party felt that it still had a strong case without the information from Gecom.
Nandlall told reporters on Thursday that the requested information will form part of the petition. “It will be subsumed in the elections petition”, he said.
He noted that previously similar information had been given out to political parties simultaneously or contemporaneously with the declaration of the results. Additionally, he said Gecom continues to hold out that the elections process was transparent and that the results were computed accurately, lawfully and transparently yet “it absolutely and emphatically refuses to give us the information which essentially is the basis upon which the results were computed…all we are asking is give us the evidence that led you to that figure’. He said that one would have expected that to keep their integrity intact, GECOM, “would have jumped at this opportunity”.
GECOM on Thursday posted the official results on its website.
Anti money -laundering
Meanwhile, asked about his party’s decision to stay away from parliament, the former Attorney General was adamant that this will not jeopardize Guyana’s ability to comply with its obligations as it relates to the anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism legislation. “The APNU+AFC when they were in opposition they controlled the Parliament and they put us in jeopardy. We only have 32 seats and even if we go there and vote against the Bill the bill will still be passed”, he said stressing that the party’s absence cannot be construed “as a basis for exposing Guyana to the perils to which Guyana has been exposed and continues to be exposed”.
In 2013 the then PPP/C government had attempted to pass the Anti-Money Laundering /Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amend-ment) Bill but it did not get the support of the opposition. The opposition had wanted more expansive legislation that stiffened the fight against money-laundering and ensured prosecutions.
Nandlall later expressed hope that the new Attorney General Basil Williams was attending meetings with regard to the anti money-laundering legislation and was keeping abreast of the issue.
The Financial Action Task Force is expected to hold a meeting in September this year at which the Guyana situation will resurface. The required legislation would have to be passed by then.
Later, asked about his personal view with regard to returning to Parliament, he said “I am part of the PPP and the party is dealing with the matter as a collective and as a member of that collective, I am guided by a collective position to which I contribute”.
Pressed further, Nandlall said that his position will not be expressed publicly but at the party level. “My private opinion will be taken into account and a collective united position will be arrived at and that position will be made public and that position is being made public and I am part of that position”, he said.