The commencement of the trial for seven persons accused of conspiring to rig the March 2020 General and Regional Elections in favour of the APNU-AFC has been deferred as the has prosecution requested more time to organise the Statements of Polls (SoPs) and Statements of Recount (SoRs).
Those charged are: Chairperson of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) Volda Lawrence; former Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo; APNU+AFC activist Carol Smith-Joseph; GECOM Clerks Denise Bob-Cummings and Michelle Miller; GECOM Elections Officer Shefern February, and Information Technology Officer Enrique Livan.
They appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan via Zoom on Friday at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. Special Prosecutor Darshan Ramdhani, in his address to the court, requested more time to sort out six bundles that contain thousands of SoPs and SoRs.
The lead prosecutor, in asking that the start of the trial be deferred said that after perusing the election documents it was discovered that several of them were indecipherable. Nevertheless, the prosecution handed over further statements and video evidence.
The Magistrate after listening to all sides adjourned the matter to October 11 for full disclosure. At that time, she said the court will decide on the mode of trial- whether an in-person or virtual hearing.
Mingo, Lawrence, and Lowenfield are being represented by Attorneys-at-law Nigel Hughes, Ronald Daniels, and Konyo Sandiford, while the other four accused have retained Senior Counsel John Jeremie, Eusi Anderson, and Latoya Roberts.
According to Lowenfield’s report, the then caretaker APNU/AFC Coalition gained 171,825 votes and the PPP/C 166,343 votes. But how he arrived at these figures is a mystery since the national recount of all ballots which was supervised by a high-level team from CARICOM revealed that the PPP/C won the elections having obtained 233,336 votes while the coalition garnered 217,920.
The recount also showed that Mingo inflated the votes for Region Four- Guyana’s largest voting district in favor of the APNU/AFC. The DPP has since hired a team of Special Prosecutors consisting of about six Attorneys-at-law to prosecute these electoral fraud matters on behalf of the State.