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Monday, June 12, 2006


-- PPP/C, PNCR trade charges


By Neil Marks
THE 15,000 objections the main opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) has made to names on the provisional electoral roll is a desperate tactic to disenfranchise legitimate voters and delay national elections, the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) charged yesterday.

At a press conference at its Freedom House headquarters in Georgetown, the PPP/C accused the PNCR of deliberately trying to clog the operations of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and delay the holding of the polls due by September 3 so as to get into power through the back door.

The PNCR yesterday said that it used the Claims and Objections (C&O) period in a “systematic and organised way” to identify the names of “thousands” of ineligible names on the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE).

However, the PPP/C charged that those very “thousands” of Guyanese “independently or through the assistance of the PPP, have come forward informing GECOM and informing their fellow citizens that they are alive, they exist and want to exercise their legitimate right to vote” in this year’s elections.

Among the names party General Secretary Mr. Donald Ramotar said were objected to by the PNCR were those of Public Service Minister Dr. Jennifer Westford, Justice William Ramlall and Mr. Ramesh Maraj, the former President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce.

“Across the country, the ‘dead’ and the ‘non-existent’ have come out to challenge the PNCR and to demonstrate that they are real people, genuine Guyanese who are eligible under the Constitution to vote and who are willing to exercise the right that the Constitution of Guyana guarantees them,” the PPP/C stated.

The PNCR in a press release yesterday took issue with the fact that the PPP/C had obtained the names of those persons it had objected to, suggesting a collusion between the ruling party and some officials of GECOM.

“The PNCR is concerned about what appears to be the undermining of the independence of the Elections Commission. In this regard, the party notes that even before the names of the objectees are published by the commission, the PPP/C is in possession of the yet to be published list of names,” the PNCR stated.

However, the PPP/C lashed back, saying this suggestion was a desperate attempt by the PNCR to extricate itself from the embarrassment of its failed attempt to deny Guyanese the right to vote.

“The PPP/C, the PNCR and other political parties have scrutineers at every Claims and Objections office across the country. It is the duty of every scrutineer to note every transaction being made at these offices and to inform the political party that he or she represents. Thus the PPP does not need any kind of collusion with GECOM to expose this heinous act of the PNCR to disenfranchise voters,” that party argued.

On Saturday, the PPP/C made public the PNCR objections to the children of Cyril Belgrave, a PPP Member of Parliament. The PNCR yesterday said that while the objection was made, it was not made by the PNCR.

However, Ramotar did not buy the PNCR explanation.

“The PNCR has now sought to deny any culpability and insist that they made no objections to the Belgrave children. Around the country, we know in whose names the objections were made. All these activists who acted on behalf of that party have now been abandoned by the PNCR and are now being made scapegoats,” he charged.

“GECOM should clearly see that one of the objectives of the PNCR was to trap GECOM into an unholy alliance to delay the election,” he stated.

The PPP/C stated that the overwhelming response of all those who have come out to demonstrate that they are alive and real should now convince the PNCR that GECOM has compiled a credible list and that the PNCR must be prepared to compete in the 2006 election.

“It is time for the PNCR to put up or shut up,” the PPP stated.

In its press release yesterday, the PNCR accused the PPP/C of pushing “inane propaganda” and defended its objections, claiming it was bringing “evidence to the people as it relates to the existence of thousands of ineligible names that find themselves on the PLE”.

“…the PPP/C is panicking and is resorting to propaganda to prevent the cleansing of the list”, the opposition party charged.

“The PNCR has a vested interest and has said so on many occasions that it will participate in any elections provided there is a clean and acceptable list of electors. It is against this backdrop that the PNCR in a systematic and organised way took the opportunity of the Claims and Objection period to scrutinize the list”, the press release said.

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