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Monday, June 12, 2006

-- PPP/C says anger spreading

Minister Dr. Jennifer Westford

THE governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) yesterday reported that Cabinet Minister Dr. Jennifer Westford is among persons deemed non-existent in what it maintains is a campaign by the main opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) to block thousands of its supporters from voting at the general and regional elections due this year.

Stepping up the charges against the PNCR, the PPP/C said many “aggrieved Guyanese whose names have been objected to on the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) are flooding the gates of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Central Freedom House, other party offices and party organisers.”

A team of party leaders has been dispatched to many of these communities where block objections are prevalent, it said in a press release.

“Over the last 24 hours,” said the PPP/C, “many of these persons objected to as either dead or non-existent have showed up in anger at this latest situation by the PNCR to disenfranchise eligible voters at the upcoming elections.”

It reported that the “latest prominent victim of the disenfranchisement campaign is the Minister of Public Service, Dr. Jennifer Westford, whom the PNCR claims does not exist.”

The PPP/C said it remains convinced that this latest attempt by the PNCR is to “derail the electoral process, create confusion and frustrate the electorate.”

“In addition, its action is a repeat of a similar tactic in 2001 where 40,000 persons were objected to in a similar manner”, the governing alliance said.

The PPP/C charge came amid more reports that persons who PNCR activists report are dead and whose names should not be on the PVL are turning up alive and well.

In an invited comment Saturday, PNCR General Secretary, Mr. Oscar Clarke said the party’s activists on the ground are “just doing their jobs” during the Claims and Objections period set aside to check the PVL.

Clarke contended that if the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) had done its job of verifying the names on the 2001 Official List of Electors (OLE) before merging it with the current PVL, problems like these would not have arisen.

He said the PNCR has always been clamouring for GECOM to do a verification exercise.

“Verification was the way of dealing with all the problems that are now arising,” Clarke told this newspaper by telephone.

The PPP/C on Saturday said that among the list of recent objections to thousands of its supporters on the PLE, are Shellon and Clemsford Belgrave, children of PPP/C Central Committee Member, Cyril Belgrave.

The PPP/C said the Belgraves turned up Saturday at the Church of the Transfiguration in Georgetown for the objection hearing to which they were summoned but the PNCR activists who made the objections did not show up.

It on Saturday also released photographs of 11 persons it said PNCR activists had claimed were dead or non-existent. The 11 persons, the PPP/C said, were alive and well on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the PPP/C is advising those persons who have been objected to and who have received letters from GECOM to appear before the hearings to make sure they attend these hearings to prove they are alive and well.

“This is an important civic duty and failing to show up at hearings may have penalties”, it advised.

It said for further queries, persons can call telephone 225-4280

Several persons from the Essequibo Coast have also been outraged with the PNCR activists on the ground claiming they are dead or cannot be found.

Guyana Chronicle