Petition filed to challenge 2001 general elections

Guyana Chronicle
May 15, 2001

VERONICA Delph, who was granted leave last week, yesterday filed a petition challenging the validity of the March 19, 2001 general elections which was won by the People's Progresive Party/Civic (PPP/C).

The woman, represented by attorneys-at-law Mr Roysdale Forde and Mr Shawn Allicock, is asking the High Court to order fresh polling and deem the concluded process unconstitutional and unlawful.

Delph charged that Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) failed to include, on the Final Voters List (FVL) or the Official List of Electors (OLE), the names of a substantial number of persons who were qualified to vote.

Among other things, she said the body that was in charge of the balloting consciously and deliberately refused to permit citizens who were qualified and registered to vote although they had complied with all the legal requirements.

Delph claims GECOM:

* did not provide a substantial number of duly registered citizens with national identification cards in a timely manner or at all, so they could vote;

* neglected to include, on the OLE, a large number of duly registered citizens eligible to vote, thusdisenfranchising them;

* prohibited a large number of duly registered voters, who were in possession of national identification cards, from voting if their names did not appear on the OLE and * prevented a large number from voting, notwithstanding that they had completed all the procedures laid down for registration, without fault on their part.

The petitioner charged that GECOM, without the knowledge or consent of electors, unlawfully transferred, caused to be transferred or allowed to be transferred from one district, division or sub-division to another far away, electors whose names appear on the OLE.

Those transfers, Delph alleged, resulted in the failure of a substantial number of willing voters to exercise their franchise.

Multiple registration of a large number of citizens, which facilitatd plural voting, is another charge Delph laid against GECOM.

According to her, the OLE comprised a total of 440,185 names, which was in excess of the 439,616 photographic transactions.

Delph said the OLE was so seriously flawed and in breach of the Representation of the People Act and the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act that it rendered the elections unlawful.

GECOM Chairman Joe Singh, President Bharrat Jagdeo, as PPP/C representative and Hugh Desmond Hoyte, representing the People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) are amongst the respondents.

Others are The United Force (TUF) Leader Manzoor Nadir, representative of Guyana Action Party/Working People's Alliance (GAP/WPA), Paul Hardy and Ravi Dev of Rise, Organise and Rebuild (ROAR).