Jagdeo condemns APNU+AFC’s attack on GECOM Chair, notes silence by civil society groups

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, on Thursday, condemned the recent attacks by PNC-led APNU+AFC officials on Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice Claudette Singh and false claims of her alignment to the PPP.

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Speaking at his weekly press conference held at Freedom House, Georgetown, Dr. Jagdeo drew attention to the comments made by APNU+AFC Members of Parliament (MPs), Ganesh Mahipaul and Amanza Walton-Desir making reference to Justice Singh as a ‘poodle of the PPP/C’.

He also highlighted a statement by opposition MP, Coretta McDonald, which, he noted is indicative of a threat on the life of Justice Singh.

“Coretta McDonald said a few days ago that ‘the death is announced of Claudette Singh, funeral to be announced later’. I saw the chairman of the elections commission writing the commissioner of police, rightfully so, and copying the Speaker, because they feel threatened, about this death threat. Not a word from the NGOs about threatening the life of the chairman of GECOM, or disparaging another woman. They did it to Barbara Pilgrim, and now Claudette Singh,” Dr Jagdeo pointed out.

He highlighted the hypocrisy of the opposition’s allegations, “It was the same Claudette Singh who was a judge in Guyana when APNU filed a case after the 1997 elections that we had illegally used the ID card for voting in the 1997 elections. The reality is that before the elections, the two main parties in Guyana— the PPP and the PNC—had agreed in Parliament that the people would use the ID card to vote. We jointly passed the law. People voted on both sides in favour of the law that ID cards must be used.

“They lost the elections, and then APNU challenged the constitutionality of the election based on the use of the ID card…. And so, what happened? They went to court, and then Claudette Singh, who gave a ruling against the PPP, and shortened our term by two years in office… wasn’t [called] a PPP stooge then, or a poodle.”

The PPP general secretary dismissed the allegation of Justice Singh being aligned with the current administration as a fallacy.

Further, he cited several major infractions by the APNU+AFC including its failure to host the general elections within three months of the no-confidence motion being filed in 2018, which was ruled a breach of the constitution by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the illegal authorisation granted by former Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, to remove names from the voters’ list and attempts by former GECOM Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield to publish false results of the 2020 general elections.

In all of these instances, the APNU+AFC was found by courts of law to be in breach of the Constitution of Guyana.

“So, what do you expect Claudette Singh to do? To vote with your commissioners in an attempt to steal the elections? And when she doesn’t support their plans, then it becomes a problem. Since when does the frequency of the vote matter, and not the issues? So, we have seen this over and over again, and this assault on Claudette Singh,” Dr Jagdeo said.

COVID-19 Notice: Due to the pandemic some consular services will be conducted by registered mail until further notice. Learn more