Elections Commission may call 292 more witnesses

Guyana Chronicle
February 4, 2000

IF a draft copy of a list of witnesses the Elections Commission hopes to call at the hearing of the Esther Perreira Elections Petition is approved, it will mean that 292 more persons will testify.

Junior Counsel for the Elections Commission, Mr Hubert Rodney, who had assured judge Ms Claudette Singh that the final list would have been ready yesterday, told the Court on the resumption, "The draft list is ready but it has to be finalised. l hope to present the final document by Monday."

The judge said that she was looking forward to receiving the completed list on Monday.

Mr Rodney, who also handed over a copy of the draft list to the Petitioner's lawyer Mr Raphael Trotman, disclosed that the document showed the number of PPP/C polling agents, the Elections Commission expects to call from Region Four.

The list contained the names of 292 Polling Agents of the PPP/C who participated in the Elections in Region Four on Elections Day, 1997.

Mr Rodney told lawyer Mr Shaun Allicock, holding for Mr Rex McKay, S.C., who is representing Mr Desmond Hoyte, that there was the likelihood the list could be shortened.

Mr Rodney said that he hoped he would not have to enlarge on that list.

According to him, "It may be that this list might be reduced, but I am expecting that it will not be enlarged."

Mr Rodney, who is conducting the case in the absence of Senior Counsel Mr Doodnauth Singh, the Chairman of the Elections Commission, who is representing the Commission, called four witnesses on the resumption yesterday.

The witnesses were PPP/C Polling Agents Colin Roberts, of Charles Street, Charlestown; Yasmin Ally of 123 Parade Street, Kingston; Paul Bevon of New Market Street, Georgetown; and Mishal Ramkumar of Gordon Street, Kitty.

The witnesses told Justice Claudette Singh that they had worked at certain polling stations on Elections Day.

They had witnessed the arrival of the empty ballot boxes and had remained at their posts throughout the day until after the count.

According to them, they were given tally sheets by the Presiding officers on which they recorded the votes each party had received during the count by the Presiding Officers.

They also said that they were given Statements of Poll by the Presiding officers, which totals, they said, compared with the totals on the tally sheets in relation to the votes each party received.

In their evidence-in-chief Ally and Bevon said that they had given their tally sheets to the Presiding officers on Elections night and never got them back.

In answer to cross-examination by Mr Raphael Trotman they agreed that in the absence of their tally sheets to compare with the Statements of Poll they could not possibly give conclusive evidence that the documents were similar in content.

The hearing continues on Monday. (GEORGE BARCLAY)