Norton should present to COI, “winning SOPs” said to be in his possession – VP

Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton should present to the elections commission of inquiry the Statements of Poll (SOPs) he has publicly claimed to have, Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo said on Friday.

“I’m hoping that Mr. Norton himself will take his appearing, disappearing statements of poll and show the commission, ‘I have them here’, so we can then just post them up, ” the VP said while addressing the media at his press conference hosted at the Office of the President.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Norton had earlier in the year, during an event at the Georgetown Club, challenged the vice president to a public debate, to which the VP agreed, but on condition that the opposition leader presents the APNU+AFC’s SOPs from the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.

The APNU+AFC had repeatedly claimed that it won the elections, based on its SoPs, but never presented them to the public, or in court during the five-month impasse in 2020, in which it tried by every conceivable means to hold on to power, but failed.

Norton had told VP Jagdeo that he was willing to submit those SoPs, but only at the end of the debate between them.

However, following a meeting with President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali back in May, Norton, when questioned by media operatives, denied ever saying that he had the Coalition’s ‘winning’ SOPs.

Opposition leader called to present “winning SOPs” to elections CoI (Guyana Chronicle photo)

“For the group of people who’ve been very vocal about winning elections, that they have won the elections, and they have evidence to that effect and filed a petition in court, I would like to think that they would want to utilise this opportunity to clarify their names and to present their case,” the VP further expressed on Friday.

The vice president has also called for several other opposition members to appear before the commission, including former Coalition ministers Khemraj Ramjattan, Cathy Hughes and Volda Lawrence, as well as the party’s Chief Scrutineer, Carol Smith-Joseph.

Smith-Joseph, who served in several government positions under APNU+AFC, including petroleum advisor, is currently facing some 16 fraud charges after being summoned by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

Smith-Joseph is already facing charges of electoral fraud along with former District Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo; Lawrence and four others.

The elections CoI, which is currently in recess, will resume on January 4, 2023.

The vice president believes that the findings of the commission will form the basis for holding other individuals accountable for the events which occurred during the March 2020 elections, including GECOM officials.

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