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The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has agreed to provide Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall SC, the documents he requested relating to the national recount of the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.
The Attorney General (AG) wants the immigration and registration documents allegedly submitted to GECOM by the then A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition government, with the names of dead and migrant persons who voted in the elections. The AG said the documents are needed to embark on an investigation into the claims made by the coalition.
Nandlall is peeved with statements made by the APNU+AFC that dead persons and those not within the jurisdiction on Election Day voted, the elections were fraudulent, and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is an installed government.
Initially, the then Opposition, PPP/C had attacked the APNU+AFC for accessing death certificates, claiming it was a violation of law. The coalition fired back, pointing out that the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, Chapter 44:01 allows such access.
As per Section 40 (2) of the Act, “Everyone shall be entitled, on payment of the fees prescribed by the Minister by order, to search the indices between the hours of ten o’ clock in the morning and four o’clock in the afternoon of every day except on public holidays and Saturdays, and to have extracted therefrom a sealed certificate of birth in Form 4 or a sealed certificate of death in Form 5, as the case may be.”
The PPP/C countered that the Access Information Act (2011) does not grant such access. However, the coalition’s AG, Basil Williams SC, rubbished the PPP/C’s contention, noting that Section 3 (1) of the Information Act permits access.
When Nandlall made the request to the GECOM, Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, Roysdale Forde SC, in conversations with Village Voice said if the election body acquiesce to the AG’s request it “will now manifest its inability to be impartial and independent by giving documentation it received and ought itself to have long confirmed to a participant in the elections who benefitted from the fraud, substitute voting and voter impersonation, to confirm.”
Forde, maintaining his position that Nandlall is fearful of the Election Petition and thus ran to GECOM, said the AG’s proposed investigation will be at the direction of him and his party (the PPP/C), and will therefore not enjoy the confidence of the people. Further, he contended, “the proposed investigation will not yield the legitimacy of the Government.”