Four witnesses testify in elections petition hearing

Stabroek News
February 2, 2000

Four witnesses testified in the elections petition yesterday.

Deodat Bhiro, a PPP polling agent from Cane Grove Health Centre during the 1997 election, put up the most resistance when cross-examined by Raphael Trotman, lawyer for the petitioner, Esther Perreira.

Despite counsel's various angles of attack in trying to get Bhiro to admit that the People's Progressive Party (PPP) had no business being involved in the Elections Commission, an independent body, the agent stood firm replying, "Me can't say" or "I don't know", until Justice Claudette Singh asked Trotman to call it off.

Mata Persaud, a PPP polling agent at the Mahaica Village Council, having been led by Hubert Rodney representing Chief Election Officer Stanley Singh, seemed to suggest under Trotman's cross-examination that he had handed over his tally sheet to an elections official, leading Trotman to wonder how it then got into the hands of Freedom House.

But in re-examination Rodney established that the position of the man who accepted the documents was not clear to Persaud.

Kemraj Singh, a PPP agent at Soesdyke Primary School, was rather surprised to discover that he was giving evidence on behalf of the Elections Commission and not the PPP party and said that he would not have gone to court had he known that. He agreed with Trotman that the PPP should not be involved with the Elections Commission in or out of court.

Kemraj Persaud of Helena, Mahaica was led by Rodney but escaped Trotman's cross-examination until today.

The elections petition was brought by Perreira on the grounds that the elections process was so flawed as to be unable to accurately reflect the will of the people.