Presiding Officer admits not certifying poll result

Guyana Chronicle
September 30, 1999

ONE of the Presiding Officers previously identified as not having signed a Statement of Poll (SOP) for the 1997 balloting admitted the lapse yesterday.

Della Porter, who was among those named by Returning Officer Henry Europe, confessed that she had opened a closed ballot box to retrieve two SOPs she had omitted to sign.

She, Teresa Robinson and Pamela Hinds testified yesterday at the elections petition hearing before Justice Claudette Singh.

They were led through their evidence-in-chief by attorney-at-law Mr Hubert Rodney, one of the other lawyers associated with Senior Counsel Doodnauth Singh, who is appearing for respondent Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Stanley Singh.

Porter said she had prepared her Poll Book on Elections Day and three SOPs.

She put her signature on one of the SOPs and placed it in an envelope but threw the other two in the ballot box which was taken to St Ambrose Primary School in Georgetown.

According to her, it was there that she retrieved the unsigned SOPs but, in her haste, did not certify them.

Porter recalled an incident at her polling station when Minister George Fung-On requested that a voter who did not have an Identification Card be sworn and allowed to vote.

Witness said she granted his request but Fung-On was challenged by a bystander who was not a political party representative and the two had an argument.

Robinson maintained she authenticated her SOPs that day and disowned a document without signature shown her in Court.

Hinds said she, too, had certified her SOPs but the one she is accused of not signing could not be located and she has to return to Court today.

In this case, Esther Perreira, a People's National Congress (PNC) supporter, of Lot 75 South Sophia, Greater Georgetown, is seeking to invalidate the outcome of the 1997 polls and has named, also as respondents, former Presidents Janet Jagan, of the People's Progressive Party/Civic governing alliance and PNC Leader Desmond Hoyte, among the List Representatives of political parties which contested.

Up to yesterday, a total of 56 witnesses had given evidence in the case.

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