Election Fraud Case: Defense requests minutes of GECOME Meetings

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Despite the state being ready to move forward with the various election fraud-related cases and despite providing the defense with a plethora of evidence, a request from the defense for Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) minutes from that period has resulted in additional delays to the trial.

On Monday, the election fraud case was called before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates Court.

The state was going to call Local Government Minister Sonia Parag, former Region Four Police Commander Edgar Thomas, Diaspora Unit Head Rosalinda Rasul and Forensic Investigator Rawle Nedd, as witnesses.

Attorney at Law, Nigel Hughes

However, Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes made a last-minute request for minutes from the Guyana Elections Commission, on the grounds that this would help him prepare to defend his clients.

Hughes’ clients are former Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, his former Deputy Roxanne Myers and former Region 4 Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.

It is understood that the defence had previously been given Statements of Poll and Recount, as well as other documents and video evidence.

During Monday’s hearing, special prosecutor Darshan Ramdhani described Hughes’ request as a delaying tactic, since related disclosures were done over two years ago and Hughes had not requested the minutes then.

However, Hughes cited Article 144 of the Constitution in arguing that his request was a reasonable one.

Magistrate Daly eventually adjourned the case until Wednesday, March 6, when she will make a pronouncement on Hughes’ request.

The trio was slapped with several offences, including misconduct while holding public office, presenting falsified documentation, and planning to manipulate Guyana’s voters by presenting an inaccurate vote total.

Shortly after GECOM had announced the election results on August 2, 2020, charges were brought against the individuals in question. The trials have not started after more than three years, prompting the voicing of concerns by several persons, including Nandlall.

The election report of former CEO Keith Lowenfield claimed that the APNU/AFC coalition garnered 171,825 votes, while the PPP/C gained 166,343 votes. How he arrived at those figures is still unknown, since the certified results from the recount exercise supervised by GECOM and a high-level team from the Caribbean Community (Caricom) pellucidly showed that the PPP/C won with 233,336 votes, while the coalition garnered 217,920.

The recount exercise also highlighted that Mingo had heavily inflated the figures in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) — Guyana’s largest voting District — in favour of the then-caretaker APNU/AFC regime. In August 2021, GECOM voted to terminate the employment of Keith Lowenfield, Roxanne Myers, and Clairmont Mingo.