In light of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) releasing documents pertaining to the March 2020 polls, the Government has requested the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to investigate the claims made by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) that ballots were cast by dead people and persons living overseas.
Last month, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall had written GECOM seeking information on how private citizens’ data was provided to it by the then ruling APNU/AFC.
After a vote taken by the seven-member Commission, the elections body last week released to the Office of the Attorney General those documents that were submitted by the then APNU/AFC in its bid to discredit the Official List of Electors (OLE) used in the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Using those documents provided by GECOM, AG Nandlall has now written Police Commissioner (ag) Clifton Hicken, to ascertain the accuracy of the data gathered by the coalition.
“I am forwarding these documents to you with a request from the Government of Guyana that a special investigation is launched by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and such other agencies, and or person (s) authorised and supervised by the GPF, to determine the veracity of the data contained in the documents as well the authenticity of some of the documents themselves and all matters and actions of persons connected therewith,” the letter, dated September 14, 2022, sent to the Top Cop by the Attorney General.
Police Commissioner (ag) Clifton Hicken
The PPP/C Government had previously announced that it would be looking into how immigration and registration data of citizens ended up in the hands of APNU/AFC.
In his letter addressed to GECOM Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, Nandlall noted that APNU/AFC delivered to GECOM, documents claiming to show that dead people and persons who were overseas on Election Day voted at the elections, as well as documents to claim that there were cases of multiple voting.
“These allegations continue to be peddled in the public domain by leaders and representatives of the aforesaid political entity. At the time and until now, the impression conveyed is that these documents and/or data were generated by and obtained from the official lawful repository of the specific information, for example, the Immigration Department, the Guyana Police Force, and the General Registrar’s Office.”
“It is important that the relevant State agency enquires into the source of this information, upon whose directions they were sourced and, perhaps, most importantly, to officially reconfirm their inaccuracy, for public record. In the circumstances, I hereby request a copy of these documents to initiate this process,” Nandlall wrote.
The AG had previously posited that at the end of the investigation if it is found that laws were breached, culpable persons will face the consequences.
The Opposition-aligned Commissioners at GECOM had objected to the release of the documents in question – a move which Nandlall has since expressed is indicative of the APNU/AFC’s lack of credibility.
“And these are the guys who are repeating the very allegations and are relying upon the allegations in their incredible efforts to impugn the 2020 election results…it is they who are speaking about the information in that document and now the government has signaled an intention to request that document so that it can be investigated so we can know the truth, and the people are objecting, the very people who are peddling the information in that document are now objecting to the document being released so that we can investigate,” Nandlall pointed out.
“These people have no credibility at all, nothing that they do make any sense to anybody,” he further contended. “That is what we have to deal with.”
According to PPP/C-nominated Commissioner Manoj Narayan, the Opposition’s objections to the release of the documents were premised on reasons that include their claims that the information in the documents is contained in the election petition. According to Narayan, the Government side argued that this was not true.
Narayan said that the Opposition Commissioners also advanced the argument that GECOM is a constitutional agency and does not have to release the documents. However, Narayan noted that the Commission, as custodians of the requested documents, had no issue with cooperating with a state agency.
“The Commissioners who were appointed by the now Opposition, they were all against it. They voted against it. They did not want any of those documents to be released to the Attorney General, even though on the other side (we) argued that in the interest of fairness and transparency, we need to release those documents as requested,” Narayan had explained to this publication.
Nevertheless, AG Nandlall has also forwarded his letter which was sent to the GECOM Chair, to the Police Commissioner “to put the government’s request into perspective” and as well as for record in the GPF’s investigation.