Last week, it was the word of People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo against the accounts given by both the Chair and the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). But now, another PPP member, Charles Ramson has come forward with an eyewitness’ account.
The issue at hand is that there has been no verification to confirm the authenticity of 6000 new potential voters.
Jagdeo had told the media that PPP scrutineers found empty lots and abandoned houses at some of the addresses provided by the new registrants. Jagdeo had said that the PPP shared this concern with GECOM and even provided evidence.
But GECOM said this was not true.
GECOM Chair, Claudette Singh told the media that there was no evidence presented to her to show the claimed controversy regarding 6000 persons on the list.
Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield said, “There are no empty lots.”
He said that GECOM workers did not make any reports of empty lots, neither did scrutineers from the governing coalition. Only PPP found empty lots.
“I am saying categorically, no evidence has been provided to GECOM comprising of Chair, Commission, and Secretariat,” said Lowenfield.
Ramson vouched that indeed, empty lots and abandoned houses were identified as the
the lawyer said, “If what Mr. Lowenfield is saying is true then this is deeply troubling because it means that Guyana Elections Commission secretariat is either not functioning properly or worse, maybe misleading him.”
Ramson noted that he volunteered to be one of the scrutineers in the verification exercise conducted by GECOM from the 19th to the 22nd December, 2019 when physical checks were made for the new registrants.
“I worked in the Lodge to Durban Housing Scheme Squatting Area and not only did we not find a number of the new registrants, but we also found both empty lots and totally abandoned houses where these unfound registrants would have been purportedly registered,” said Ramson.
Ramson said that the GECOM officer and the scrutineers prepared documents at the end of each of the four days at GECOM’s office. He said that included in those documents were the relevant new registrant details along with an explanation if they were not found. Ramson said that he signed those documents as one of the scrutineers along with the GECOM officer who conducted the exercise for the area. In the instances where there were empty lots or abandoned houses, it was so recorded.
“If Mr. Lowenfield would like to verify any of this information then he can simply check with the GECOM officers. I have attached a picture of one of the empty lots located in Hadfield Street Lodge where the unfound new registrant would have been purportedly registered. I am providing an eyewitness account that there were both empty lots and abandoned houses and I am available to provide any further information if so requested,” said Ramson.