CAC report revealed marginal differences in vote count
June 7, 2000
The CARICOM Audit Commission's (CAC) count as compared to the tally of the Elections Commission "revealed marginal differences in the votes cast for all political parties."
This was part of Senior Counsel Doodnauth Singh's continuing address to the elections petition yesterday. He said the results from the CAC showed a gain of only 79 votes for the PNC and 367 votes for the PPP. Most of these gains, the CAC concluded, were because of the failure of presiding officers to differentiate between spoilt and rejected ballots.
As for the key issue of voter identification cards, Singh submitted that the findings on page 29 of the CAC report were completely erroneous and that despite attempts by lawyers for the petitioner "at every step" to exclude the correction or "erratum" to that page, they could not get away from the fact that an erratum existed, and had been sent to PNC leader Desmond Hoyte. On top of this the Region Six audit, put into evidence by CAC secretary Joseph Farrier, "destroyed" the page 29 findings; with total votes of 70,763 versus ID cards of 69,881 excluding those of the armed forces.
Page 29 claims that 29,000 persons from Region Six voted without proper identification. The report also noted that for the seven regions sampled, reconciliation of ID cards showed marginal variations with some regions 100% perfect.
Singh urged the court to examine the Statistical Appendix to the report available in the CARICOM Secretariat library. To do anything less "would be to bury one's head in the sand... and become the "laughing stock of the Caribbean", he argued.
And he wondered how the PNC could pursue the petition on behalf of the invisible petitioner Esther Perreira when it had signed onto the Hermandston Accord that made the CAC report binding on the two parties.
Singh is expected to finish his closing arguments tomorrow. Senior Counsel Rex McKay representing PNC leader Desmond Hoyte asked the court whether come Monday the constitutional part of his argument could be made by Senior Counsel Keith Massiah. Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran, representing the PPP's Janet Jagan, would be submitting a written address.
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