– former member Malcolm Harripaul estimates
FORMER Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officer and People’s Progressive Party (PPP) member, Malcolm Harripaul, believes the main opposition party is afraid of house-to-house registration because they will remain in opposition.
“They wouldn’t want a new voters list because if you have fresh house-to-house registration, on which a new voters list would be compiled, it means that all the dead persons will come off the voters list, also many of the persons who would have migrated will no longer be on the list, so they stand to lose like 50,000 names from the list.”
Harripaul, who now supports the APNU+AFC coalition, offered his view during a recent two-hour interview on ‘Straight Up’, LIVE on Benschop Radio 107.1 FM.
RIGGING OF 2011 ELECTIONS
According to him, the PPP rigged the 2011 elections, using several methods, detailing four specifically. “The first method that came to my attention on Election Day was at a school at Timehri, and what they did, the school building was a large school building that housed about four polling places. In other words the building was divided into four polling places. Each polling place was supposed to only have one section of the list. Like A to D, E to K, etc. But at that building, each polling place had the complete list. So they took a group of youths there, who went to each polling place, and voted. So those set of youths voted four times. Now people would say they had to get their fingers stained etc, etc. Yes, they got their fingers stained, but maybe they got the stain removed. But the fact of the matter is that the APNU polling agent reported that there was multiple voting there, and described in detail how they went about with the multiple voting,” he claimed.
He continued: “The other method is what I call the phantom voting. I was outside of West Dem Secondary School and this vehicle pulled up, the guys had a set of cartons with ID cards, and they also had a lot of cash with them. And then canter trucks and minibuses came with more youths. And they were giving the youths the ID cards along with a piece of paper. And I thought it was proxy voting or something. But what I later learnt is that these ID cards belonged to people who died a long time ago and people who migrated a long time ago. And the PPP were moving people around in canter trucks, and using these ID cards and going to the polling places and voting. So I labelled that Phantom voting.”
Multiple voting and phantom voting were not all the underhand practices Harripaul told the live programme he has observed.
“The third thing I observed with the PPP in 2011 elections, when we went into places like Canal Number Two and Canal Number One, every single polling officer was a known PPP supporter. And they were the presiding officer, the assistant presiding officer, the polling clerk, etc, etc. So they were in complete control of the local elections machinery at that level. So there were cases reported to me, where even if people did not go with their ID cards to vote, they would mark up the ballots. The coalition had polling agents there but they were not too properly trained. They did not really realise what was going on and they found a way of getting the polling agents out of the polling stations at certain times in the day, like lunch time or so, or some excuse to send them out the place, and they would do their skullduggery… but what the PPP was careful about, they never exceeded the number of names on the list. For example, if a list had 200 names, they would make sure only 200 ballots were cast…”
There was a fourth skullduggery, Harripaul claimed occurred.
“The other thing PPP did was to fortify the statement of poll, and they had their officials at GECOM, at the headquarters, and they had very good coloured photocopy machines there. And they had a way of photocopying documents and still having people’s signature on documents and so on. So they produced fake statements of poll… At that level, they knew how many votes they needed, and how many votes they’d give the opposition, and how many votes they would give to small parties. And that’s where the allocation took place,” Harripaul revealed.
NEVER A ‘YES’ MAN
Though he was an active member of the PPP, Harripaul said in the interview that he was never a “yes man”.
“I was always an independent thinker and I was never afraid to express my views to the leadership of the PPP,” he said.
In fact, there were several occasions where he came forward and publicly spoke against the actions of the PPP. And in 2010, through a letter to the media, he spoke in full support of David Granger as President of Guyana. He even wrote about the rigged elections, in 2011.
“I always put my country first and I always looked to see who would be the best leader for Guyana. And at that time, I saw David Granger as the best person to become the President of Guyana to exercise presidential powers, and to run a government that would look after the interests of all Guyanese. I knew him from the army and I knew him as a neighbour in Kitty. So I knew him personally. I knew his qualities. Very good person at heart. I had no qualms in coming out in full support of him in October of 2010,” Harripaul wrote.
Also in the interview, Harripaul told listeners that it came as no surprise that Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, chose Irfaan Ali as the PPP presidential candidate.
“Jagdeo cannot be President of Guyana if he chooses a good candidate. If he chooses a good candidate and PPP wins the election, eventually he will be ousted from the PPP, and will eventually become oblivion. Once he remains Leader of the Opposition, he remains general secretary of the PPP, he remains a powerhouse for the PPP; he remains the man running the show in the PPP. That’s what he likes. So therefore he would pick someone who would lose election, so he can remain opposition leader…. He wants to be opposition leader for life, and that’s his objective,” he said.
This decision, Harripaul further noted, leaves room for a possible split at the leadership level of the PPP.
“The better presidential candidate for PPP would have been Frank Anthony, or Anil Nandlall. So right now the PPP is split. They are a few who support Irfaan, yes. But many rally around Anil Nandlall and others around Frank Anthony. The people are not buying into Irfaan’s promises of 50,000 jobs and all of that….He’s not a good standup comedian. Guyanese people are not dumb people, they understand the politics. People understand the issues, they understand that he was a very dishonest minster of housing, that he was a very corrupt person, so they have their own personal experience. They knew how he treated them when he was in office,” Harripaul lamented.
On the issue of appointment of a new GECOM chair, Harripaul believes President Granger is looking for a better alternative and Jagdeo is not going to cooperate, but will rather use the opportunity to instigate chaos in the country.
“Going forward, I can see the President sticking to his guns that he would like some more credible names being proposed by the Leader of the Opposition. But I don’t see him (Jagdeo) cooperating. Because his whole objective in his mind, he is creating chaos in the country, he is creating tension; he is creating strife in the country. But it is all in his mind. That is what he thinks he is doing… He wants a situation where there is always controversy, because the controversy in the eyes of his supporters, make the government look bad. They’re misleading their supporters with their total fabrications in the headlines they use in papers and reports on television,” he posited.
He added: “They are misleading their supporters in the situation where they want to create some sort of strife in the country, where they will be some sort of violence and civil strife. Because traditionally, the PPP has always held their support base, whenever there is some sort of violence going on. That’s when the support base rallies around them. So with them having a presidential candidate with fake degrees and 19 fraud charges, they really need something to happen, that will rally their supporters around them. So I think that’s really the objective of these people; to delay things and create a situation where there is some sort of violence down the road.”
The APNU/AFC Government, he said wants a credible and violence-free election.