Registrar maintains report compiled from Region Ten data

Stabroek News
June 11, 1999

Chief Registrar for Region Ten during the 1997 general elections Nelson Bakker yesterday denied that a report compiled by him on the Region Ten election was done after the Cross Commission Report was released, but compiled from information he received from his electoral officers.

Under cross-examination by Attorney-at-law Saphier Hussein in the Esther Perreira election petition hearing before Justice Claudette Singh, Bakker maintained that the report was started approximately one week before and completed about one week after the December 15, election. He could not give any confirmed dates as to when he commenced the report and the completion of it.

This line of questioning resulted from the attorney's observation that Bakker's report stated the exact figure of 19,019 valid votes as quoted in the Cross report.

According to the witness, before the elections, all registrars of Region Ten were told by the Chief Elections Officer to prepare a report in relation to the Region Ten voting. Bakker testified that his notes consisted of what transpired before the election and information he received from the statements of poll submitted to him by deputy registrars and deputy returning officers.

The witness told the court that Region Ten had 96 polling stations and that during the course of election day he visited about ten of these. According to Bakker, at the end of polling, he visited one station during the counting of ballots but did not stay until the end of the count. He did not witness the declaration of count at any polling station nor was he present when tally sheets were prepared.

He could not say if these tally sheets were genuinly prepared at the end of the polls nor could he say if the information contained was genuine. He admitted that the only way he could have determined if the documents presented to him were indeed genuine, was by the signatures, and many of these he conceded were not known to him.

Asked by Hussein why he did not present his report to the Cross Commission when he was summoned to appear before that body, and his rationale for tendering the report in court, the witness explained that within the time that the audit was held, he could have remembered many things, but two years after, he could not remember everything.

According to the witness, the only persons he had disclosed his report to were representatives of the PPP, PNC and the Working People's Alliance (WPA). He added that it was only two weeks ago when Senior Counsel Doodnauth Singh, informed him that he would be required to give evidence on what transpired on election day, that he mentioned the report to him.

He told the court that he was the designer of the report's cover and that an employee of the Linmine Bauxite Company had done the computing, but he could not remember the person's name nor the date when the report was completed.

When the case resumes today, Bakker is expected to supply this information to the court as requested by Hussein.

The Esther Perreira election petition challenges the validity of the 1997 election results and has named representatives of the lists of political parties contesting the elections and the Chief Elections Officer as respondents.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples