PPP/C seeks fresh elections in petition

The PPP/C is awaiting a date for the first hearing of its elections petition filed on Wednesday in which the petitioner, former minister Ganga Persaud, called on the court to order fresh elections as a form of redress.

The party’s position since votes were cast in the May 11 general elections is that it has been robbed of votes through a carefully planned rigging process on the part of the APNU+AFC coalition. Local and international observers have declared the polls free and fair.

Persaud described himself in the court document as an election agent and PPP/C candidate in the elections. The respondents were listed as Chief Election Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield; Donald Ramotar, Representative of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) List of Candidates; Harold Lutchman, Representative of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) List of Candidates; Marissa Nadir, Representative of The United Force (TUF) List of Candidates; Mark Benschop, Representative of the Independent Party (IP) List of Candidates; Saphier Hussain-Subedar, Representative of the National Independent Party (NIP) List of Candidates; Vishnu Bandhu, Representative of the United Republican Party (URP) List of Candidates; Gerald Perreira, Representative of the Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP) List of Candidates; and Leon Saul, Representative of the Healing The Nation Theocracy Party (HTNTP) List of Candidates.

In the petition, Persaud called on the court to declare the entire elections process flawed, and contained many procedural errors and so many instances of fraudulent and/or suspicions actions that “the results that have been derived from the process cannot be credibly deemed to represent accurately the will of the electorate.”

He also asked the court to order a recount of all ballots cast in the elections.

Further, Persaud said that he would like the court to determine and declare that the number of valid votes cast differs from the number of votes upon which seats in the National Assembly were allocated to that list, and further, that the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) be directed to review the said lists and to, accordingly, reallocate such seats in accordance with section 97 of the Representation of the People Act.

Lastly he asked that the court grant “such redress in conformity with the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act, Chapter 1:04, as may be just, appropriate and necessary, including, but not limited to, ordering fresh elections to be held in the whole or part, for the purpose of rectifying the said results; and that the Court give such incidental, ancillary and supplementary direction as the Court may deem fit, including, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the reallocation of the seats in the National Assembly.”

The filing of the petition came after the party secured leave from the court to file it.

Meanwhile, as it pertains to the grounds and particulars of the petition, Persaud stated that valid ballots were wrongly deemed as rejected. He said that many Statements of Poll (SoP) used by Gecom and/or the CEO to tabulate the results contained arithmetic errors.

He said that there was multiple voting by persons at various polling stations; persons not on the Official List of Electors were allowed to vote; persons impersonated and voted for those persons and “huge mobs” at several polling stations and other strategic points, particularly in Region 4 created fear rendering it impossible for officials to carry out their duties.

Persaud also said that several ballot boxes from various polling divisions were either not sealed or improperly sealed with the authorized seals at the close of poll and several of the party’s ballot attendants and polling/counting agents were prevented from accompanying the boxes while those attached to the coalition were allowed to do so.

According to him, many of the SoPs used by Gecom or the CEO to ascertain the results “were not the Statements of Poll which emanated from the polling stations but were fraudulently concocted and inserted into GECOM’s machinery, and therefore, the data contained thereon is not reflective of the will of the electorate as expressed at those polling stations.”

In the petition which spans 19 pages, he said that the procedure used to intermix the Disciplined Services ballots with that of the general electorate is “unknown, irregular and clandestine” making it impossible to determine that which was intermixed were indeed those ballots. He said that the party’s votes were subtracted in some cases and added to the coalition at some polling stations.

Persaud stated that the CEO and/or the Returning Officer miscalculated and/or incorrectly tabulated and ascertained the elections results.

“The Returning Officers of nine of the ten polling districts unlawfully refused requests by the Counting Agents of People’s Progressive Party/Civic for those districts, to conduct a final general count as is provided for by the Representation of the People Act,” he said.

Persaud also cited Gecom meetings at which irregularities were mentioned and said that in spite of this, the results were still announced.

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