Any act of ‘skullduggery’ will be challenged –President to GECOM

Former President Donald Ramotar

ACTS of “skullduggery” will not go unchallenged, according to the presidential candidate of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), Donald Ramotar, who yesterday commented on several infractions, although not widespread, in the electoral process.“I want to have every vote from the people who voted for me,” he declared during a news conference yesterday at Freedom House, Robb Street.
Among the problems cited are cases of multiple voting, and the fact that the ink used to stain the fingers of voters were easily removed; late start at polling places; slow process of voting; misdirection by some GECOM staffers who advised voters; broken stamps and the denial of proxy holders to use their proxies, among others.
According to him, the concerns flagged by the PPP/C were documented and sent to the Guyana Elections Commission on Monday – Elections Day itself.
However, GECOM insists that such documentation is not in its possession.
The incumbent Head of State added that the ruling party has also communicated the specifics of its concerns to several observer groups.
“We hope that GECOM would investigate,” he said.

At the top of the list of the PPP/C’s concerns is that some persons turned up at polling stations to vote and were told that they voted already. Also, there are reports that a person without an identification card was allowed to vote even though there were objections to the fact that his photograph did not match the photograph on GECOM’s folio, a detail of voters’ biodata that is used to verify identities in cases where eligible voters are not in possession of their identification cards.
On Monday when the concerns were aired, GECOM Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally, and Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Mr Keith Lowenfield committed to investigating the reported infractions.
Mr Lowenfield, when asked, added that if Presiding Officers are found to have allowed voting by persons not eligible to do so, GECOM will be guided by standard operating procedures. “Our procedures will dictate what actions will be taken,” he said.
Mr Ramotar acknowledged that the GECOM Chairman has maintained that this phenomenon is not possible. Consequently he charged that collusion among E-Day staffers and factions that do not represent the interest of the PPP/C is a possible explanation.
He declined to comment as to whether or not his party will challenge the result of the 2015 General and Regional elections, given that the compilation of the final results is still to be completed.
The impact of these problems on the final result of the 2015 polls, the President said, is a determination to be made by GECOM.
Another determination for GECOM, he said, is juxtaposition of the PPP/C concerns and the endorsement of the electoral observer missions on the ground for the 2015 General and Regional election.
All considered, the 2015 polls is regarded as one of the most significant General and Regional elections since 1992.

By Vanessa Narine