Returning Officer Persaud faces extensive grilling on report

Guyana Chronicle
June 17, 1999

RETURNING Officer for Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) Gurdat Persaud faces continued grilling today on a report he compiled following the 1997 general elections in that district.

This is despite, under cross-exmination by Senior Counsel Peter Britton, who is representing the petitioner, People's National Congress (PNC) supporter Esther Perreira, in the current elections petition, the witness said he was unable to find the rough notes from which he made the compilation.

Brittom was questioning Persaud on the basis of a copy of his compendium when the latter told Justice Claudette Singh he had sent the original to Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Stanley Singh, the number one respondent in the case.

Asked about specifics in the documentation, the witness maintained he would have been in a position to give answers if he had his jottings.

However, without them, he could not be of much help.

Specifically, Persaud was referred to a section which contained a summary on voter identification (ID) cards.

That part said some 3,255 IDs were returned to source for various reasons but Britton wanted to know the exact number in each category as, among other things, some owners were reported to have left the country and others could not be located.

One more group had moved out of the district without giving forwarding addresses, another did not collect theirs because they were not inclined to vote and other cards had unrecognisable photographs, incorrect signatures, gender and

dates of birth, the Court exhibit stated.

But the witness explained that the listing he kept for himself was also missing and the other had been forwarded to the CEO.

Perreira, of Lot 75 South Sophia, Greater Georgetown, is challenging the validity of the 1997 balloting on the ground that the process was so flawed it cannot be said to accurately reflect the will of the electorate.

In the litigation, she has cited, amongst the List Representatives of contesting political parties, President Janet Jagan of the governing PPP/Civic alliance and PNC Leader Desmond Hoyte.

Nevertheless, by agreement, all the political leaders, except Hamilton Green of A Good and Green Guyana (AGGG), will abide the ruling in this matter.

A page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples