Order served for Hoyte to hand over CARICOM audit documents

Stabroek News
May 5, 2000

A lawyer for Janet Jagan yesterday served an order on Desmond Hoyte's lawyer for his client to hand over documents relating to the CARICOM audit of the 1997 elections.

Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran, lawyer for Jagan, a respondent in the elections petition, told the court that he had served papers on Senior Counsel Rex McKay, lawyer for Hoyte, another respondent, to produce a July 14, letter from CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington addressed to Hoyte that has attached an erratum signed by all the members of the CARICOM Audit Commission (CAC), as requested by the PNC leader. This erratum seeks to correct the findings on page 29 of the CAC report that 45,000 persons voted without ID cards. A detailed audit of voter ID cards in Region Six was also attached.

In testimony yesterday, Joseph Farrier, an official at the CARICOM Secretariat, recalled that he had personally attached the documents to the letter and had them sent to Hoyte on July 15.

Justice Claudette Singh had originally decided to defer her ruling on the admissibility of a copy of the Carrington letter because of Ramkarran's announcement but was persuaded by McKay to give her ruling because the arguments she was considering were heard yesterday before his learned friend's announcement. She disallowed the letter on the grounds that secondary evidence was inadmissible until notice had been given to produce the original.

McKay then continued his cross-examination of Farrier, who was secretary to the CAC during the audit. The questioning sought to discredit the erratum and its source-- the Region Six ID card count. Farrier said he had heard only rumours of ID cards that could not be found; something McKay called surprising from a secretary who surely was not just a "rubber stamp."

"So is Page 29 a myth?" he asked.

McKay attempted to clear up the "dichotomy" over Farrier's testimony that he sent out corrected CAC reports with errata and Region Six audit reports and the seeming ignorance of some participants as to their delivery. Farrier could only say he had not informed the parties of the erratum and the Region Six report before sending out them out just days after the publication of the report on May 30, 1998.

Senior Counsel Doodnauth Singh representing the chief election officer (CEO) established from the witness, that while there might be audits of ID cards for the other Regions (Two, Four and Seven) they were yet to be delivered to anyone.

Farrier also revealed he had a passing acquaintance with Rickey Singh, the supposed author of an article which falsely suggested that the court had ordered the CARICOM library to hand over all documents.

Finally, Ramkarran asked Farrier to produce by Monday, any original faxes of the revised erratum and the Region Six audits. He also asked Justice Singh to reconsider her denial of the application made two weeks ago for the court to count all the voter ID cards used during the election.

Senior Counsel Peter Britton, representing the petitioner Esther Perreira, said this would be strenuously resisted by him and McKay and wondered how the judge could be asked to re-rule her ruling.