Significant number of voters had no ID cards
- witness tells elections petition hearing

Stabroek News
December 13, 1999

PPP/Civic Member of Parliament, Clarence 'Eddie' Rodney, on Friday returned to the witness stand in the elections petition hearing and testified that he agreed with the CARICOM Audit Commission's (CAC) report which concluded that a significant number of electors voted without voter ID cards in the 1997 elections.

Under cross-examination by Rex McKay, counsel for former president Desmond Hoyte, Rodney read out figures contained in the CAC report which related to differences between actual ballots cast and the number of voter ID cards.

According to these figures, in Region Two, there was a difference of 6,679 between ballots and cards, while Region Four recorded a difference of 6,511.

In Region Six, there was a difference of 29,494 while in Region Seven, according to the CAC, there was a difference of 2,591.

Rodney, in his second appearance on the stand before Justice Claudette Singh, also read a portion of the report which assessed the statements of polls (SOPs) and found them to have been inadequately managed.

Asked about his own observation of the audit, Rodney testified that, during the 16 sittings of the CAC he had attended (seven days of which were devoted to SOPs alone), he had not observed a single unsigned SOP. He conceded to having read of such allegations in the press but pointed out to McKay that Friday's sitting was the first time that he had heard about unsigned SOPs.

He then pointed out to the court that the counting of SOPs had, for the most part been handled by members of the CAC team.

Rodney was also asked to clarify earlier testimony he had given under cross-examination by Peter Britton, SC, counsel for the petitioner Esther Perreira.

On that occasion, Rodney had mentioned being aware of some 5,000-6,000 miners who, while being registered in the Region Eight district, actually lived in Georgetown and its environs.

Rodney had said that these persons were transferred to the district in which they were registered to vote and that "we" had helped them.

However, he qualified this testimony, telling McKay that he had only assisted with five or six of these people while the others had been put up at varying locations.

Rodney was ordered to re-appear in court today to face re-examination by Doodnauth Singh, counsel for the Chief Election Officer (CEO).

The CEO is among the 11 named respondents in the elections petition brought by Perreira, who is contesting the results of the 1997 elections on the grounds that the process was so flawed that it cannot be said to accurately reflect the will of the electorate.

Also scheduled to reappear on the same day as Rodney are his fellow PPP observers--Desmond Morian, Richard Kanhai and Odinga Lumumba.

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