PPP's Rodney agrees with Audit observation

Guyana Chronicle
December 13, 1999

CLARENCE Rodney, a member of the PPP/C Observer team that monitored the CARICOM Audit exercise told a hearing of the Esther Perreira Elections petition on Friday that he agreed with the observation made in the Cross report about Statements of Poll and Voter Identification cards.

But the witness, who was under cross-examination by Mr Rex McKay, Senior Counsel, denied a suggestion that the PPP/C had transported by air and road about 6,000 miners from East Coast Demerara and Georgetown to the interior on elections day to enable them to exercise their franchises.

Earlier in his testimony, Mr Rodney had said, "We had to provide overnight accommodation for these people." But when reminded that he was speaking in the plural form by the use of the word `We', witness told the Court that the use of the word `We' was a mistake.

He asked the Court to record him as saying that some 5,000 or 6,000 miners had to be flown in by aircraft and brought in by lorry to the interior on elections day.

At the time the witness was his party's agent for Region Eight - Potaro/Siparuni.

Mr Rodney said that he assisted in providing overnight accommodation for some of the miners, but denied the suggestion that his party had anything to do with the transporting of the miners.

In answer to further questions, Rodney agreed that the PPP/C Observer team had not been authorised by Parliament.

He was, however, aware that the CARICOM Audit team was a statutory body authorised by Parliament.

He told Mr McKay that he did not read the CARICOM report but admitted reading extracts of the report in the local newspapers.

Witness was then shown page 27 of the CARICOM Report which referred to Statements of Poll and page 29 which recorded that 45,275 persons in Regions Two, Four, Six and Seven had voted without Voter Identification cards.

Witness read extracts from the CARICOM Report on page 27 in which the Commission had found that the situation with respect to Statements of Poll was inadequately managed.

Witnesses who testified earlier were also shown the very report and asked for their comments.

In his comment, Mr Rodney agreed that in certain instances

the Statements of Poll were inadequately managed.

According to the report, in relation to Region Two, there were 28,813 votes as against 18,134 ID Cards, leaving a difference of 6,679.

Region Six recorded 71,562 votes as against 42,068 cards with a difference of 29,494; and in Region Seven there were 8,324 votes cast as against 5,733 cards resulting in a difference of 2,591.

The difference in cards that could not tally with the number of persons voted, totalled 45,275 according to the CARICOM Audit Report.

Witness Rodney said in answer to Mr McKay that he was in agreement with that aspect of the report.

The hearing continues today before Justice Claudette Singh. (GEORGE BARCLAY)

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