January 8, 1998

Dear Sir,,

University of Guyana Lecturer, Sherwood Lowe, has not used academic reasoning and deductive logic in his spurious attempt to criticise a proposal by Mr David de Groot that the PNC publish its own numbers to prove that they won the recent elections. As an academic he should be aware that it is not sufficient to arrive at conclusions without the necessary backing, in this case statistical, to establish your case.

He goes on to repeat the usual PNC allegations but as an academic he fails to provide us with the statistical evidence to prove how the PNC would have overcome the large gap by which they lost the elections.

The PNC would have to come good in order to prove that it was robbed of more than sixty thousand votes, when it was part of the verification process of over ninety percent of the votes cast.

This is the evidence which all Guyanese are waiting for. I find it difficult to believe that over sixty thousand votes could have been rigged right under the noses of all the political parties. There were undoubtedly problems with the tallying exercise and these were pointed out in the Commonwealth observers report.

But the observations of the Commonwealth report must not be wrongly interpreted as pointing to electoral fraud. This is not the conclusion. The authors of the report had a duty to point out all problem areas and this they did but they have stayed clear of concluding that the results were fraudulent.

In fact the mere fact that these problem areas could be identified means that steps could have been taken to correct them. For example the report points out that the tally sheets were not present in sequential order and this led to double tallying.

The report did not specify how much double tallying there was. However, the Commission would have picked this up when it was checking the printouts for it would have noticed that a polling station, identified by unique number, would have appeared twice. The report also alluded to cases where national and regional results were totalled together.

This would have been easy to pick up since the parties would have been checking it and in any event there was a limit to the number of votes which could have been cast at a polling station and the totalling of the Regional and General elections votes would normally have exceeded this limit. If these practices were widespread there would have been a significant inflation of the votes of the smaller parties.

Mr. de Groot like many other fair minded Guyanese has recognised that the difficulties with these elections does not require a complex exercise to sort out. It is rather simple. I feel that your newspaper should adopt his suggestion and invite all the parties to submit their numbers. There were under 2000 polling stations and if each party as well as the EAB can send in photo copies of their numbers than it will only take about two days at the most to reconcile the figures and arrive at a true result.

Yours faithfully

Adelma Harris