Wait for elections petition, Rohee says

– as official Gecom results negate PPP discrepancy claims

Now that the Guyana Elections Commission’s (Gecom) official Box by Box 2015 General and Regional Election results match those contested by the PPP, save for one, General Secretary Clement Rohee is saying that the public should wait and see what his party presents in its elections petition.

Clement Rohee
Clement Rohee

We shouldn’t jump too early to [the] conclusion [that there is a] lack of evidence until what we see… vis-a-vis the elections petition presented to the courts,” Rohee said at yesterday’s weekly press briefing. He said that for right now the public would have to wait and see what was to be presented, while denying that the party was continuously shifting the goal post on its claim that the 2015 General and Regional election was rigged. And even in the dearth of the statistical evidence that has been at the backbone of the PPP’s calls for Chairman of the Commission Dr Steve Surujbally to resign the party is holding steadfast to its calls.

When asked by a member of the media if the PPP should not await the outcome of the legal challenge, Rohee said that calling for Surujbally’s resignation was a political demand.

On May 14, former president Bharrat Jagdeo held a press conference at Freedom House where he held up tabulations of seven allegedly irregular Statement of Poll results, showing tabulations by the PPP and discrepancies in Gecom’s tabulations.

However, the official Box by Box results reveal that with the exception of one of the SOPs Gecom’s official numbers are in line with those tabulated by the PPP. Jagdeo also had a chart depicting the PPP’s tabulations for Box No 4643 at 21 votes for the APNU+AFC Coalition and 267 for the PPP, which are the same numbers officially published. The only discrepancy is that of Box No 4644, where the PPP’s documentation showed the Coalition as having received 16 votes while the PPP received 261; the official number as published by Gecom is 201 votes for the PPP. All of the other tabulations held up by the PPP as irregular are in line with what has been published by Gecom.

At the same May 14, press conference Jagdeo had said “We have to be really stupid to put fake Statement of Polls in Gecom that show APNU with a higher vote than us; we have to be really stupid.” At the time he had stated that according to the cross referencing of Gecom’s SOPs and the PPP/C’s there were discrepancies as high as 120 votes and as low as 20.

In a detailed preliminary statement on the May 11 general elections, the US-based Carter Center had said that PPP/C agents failed to produce their copies of Statements of Poll (SOPs) from the 21 stations they were challenging.

It was the first insight publicized by any of the observer groups to the May 11 polls on the challenge to Statements of Poll which the now opposition PPP/C is using to argue was evidence of rigging against it.

The PPP/C has been claiming that some SOPs carried incorrect information and that the corresponding ballot boxes would also illustrate this. The PPP/C was not successful in gaining access to documents that it has requested from Gecom following the May 11 general elections and its call for a recount of all of the votes was also rejected.

Barring Jagdeo’s May 14 press briefing, the PPP had supplied no other empirical or technical data to support its challenge.

Meanwhile, former attorney general and party executive Anil Nandlall has told Stabroek News that the elections petition will be ready shortly.

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