The Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) says it will implement tougher laws to guard against electoral fraud, after discovering that names were once again fraudulently obtained; this time in Region One (Barima-Waini) by a party for its lists of candidates and nominators, which were presented to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to enable the parties to contest the upcoming polls.
General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Bharrat Jagdeo at his weekly press briefing pointed out that this is fraud, against not only those unsuspecting electorates, but the country as a whole, since those culpable political parties will get approval to go on the ballot paper when they would not have even legitimately had the minimum requirements to be there.
So far, GECOM has indicated that of the 13 parties that made submissions at last Friday’s Nomination Day, 11 have been approved to contest the March 2 elections.
But according to Jagdeo, the PPP/C was informed by GECOM after Nomination Day that it needed to replace a name on its Geographical List for Region One because one individual, Elroy Thomas, is on another party’s list.
“So we decided we’ll replace that name, because we have thousands of supporters in Region One. But Mr Thomas contacted us and said, ‘I never agreed to be the candidate or backer for any other party. I support the people’s Progressive Party. I’ve always supported the party’,” the PPP General Secretary related.
He also said that Thomas told him there was an individual going around communities in the region collecting names of about 50 persons, claiming that they are just checking to see whether they’re on the voters’ list.
This is not the first time this is happening. On Nomination Day, ahead of the November 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE), dozens of lists of names and signatures purporting to be backers of candidates were palpably defective because of forgeries.
In fact, some 50 persons of the Whim/Bloomfield Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) had their names fraudulently affixed to the backers’ lists for LGE in the Ancient County. They claimed they were tricked into signing an Alliance for Change (AFC) nominators’ list to contest the local government polls.
Against this backdrop, the PPP, over the past days, had called for the Elections Commission to take criminal actions against parties or persons who are found culpable of fraudulently obtaining names of persons on their lists.