FORMER Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, and Chairperson of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Volda Lawrence are expected to go on trial today for electoral fraud. And so, too, is A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) political activist, Carol Joseph-Smith.
The trio is expected to appear before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on two counts of fraud, the first of which alleges that on March 5, 2020, with intent to defraud, Lawrence and Mingo uttered a report purporting to be a true declaration of all votes cast in District Four (Demerara-Mahaica) for the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, knowing the same to be forged.
It is further alleged that on March 13, 2020, Mingo and Joseph uttered a forged document purporting to be a true report of all votes cast in the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, knowing that said report was forged. It is also alleged that on the said date, Joseph conspired with Mingo and others to declare a fraudulent count of votes for District Four.
Holding for the State on this matter is a team of special prosecutors, namely, Attorneys-at-law Glenn Hanoman, Mark Conway, Ganesh Hira, Arudranauth Gossai, and George Thomas. Just recently, Mingo, along with Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and his deputy, Roxanne Myers, had their employment terminated by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The trio is currently out on $100,000 each for allegedly conspiring with one another to defraud electors during the course of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections. It is alleged that the trio, between March 2 and August 2, 2020, at Georgetown, conspired with each other, together with Volda Lawrence, Carol Smith-Joseph, Sherfern February, Enrique Livan, Denise Bobb- Cummings, Michelle Miller and others to defraud the electors of Guyana by declaring a false account of votes for the elections.
They and their alleged co-conspirators are currently before the court on several other charges pertaining to electoral fraud, and misconduct in public office which were all reportedly committed during the course of the March 2, 2020 elections. They are all accused of inflating the results of Region Four, the country’s largest voting district, to give the APNU+AFC coalition a majority win at the polls when, in fact, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had won by 15,000 votes. This dispute resulted in several legal challenges which ended up before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Guyana’s highest appeal court, and a five-month delay in the declaration of the results. A lengthy recount of the votes eventually declared victory in favour of the PPP/C, and Dr. Irfaan Ali was sworn in as the President of Guyana.