Opposition Leader has disclosed that the Department of Citizenship, which falls under the Ministry of the Presidency, has been issuing documents to persons who are not eligible to receive them.
Jagdeo stated at a press conference that such a state of affairs can impact not only the national documents, such as the status of Guyanese passports, but also the electoral system, with persons registering as voters under false pretenses.
The Opposition had previously questioned payments for 300,000 birth certificate documents in the National Assembly. Citizenship Minister, Winston Felix, was grilled by the Opposition on the projected sum of $37.5M to be spent in 2017, as opposed to the $9.5M which were set for the funding of print and non-print materials for 2016. In response, he told the House that the cost for the print material was increased.
The PPP had publicly expressed its concerns about Minister Felix being in charge of the Department of Citizenship. He had also stated that the Party will not let its guard down as it relates to any attempt to rig the next General and Regional Elections.
“I know it is a big concern of this country about the signals they are hearing about rigged elections. That is a fear of many people. They believe that given the PNC’s history and that a significant number of the actors of the past are in the current government, that there will be a concerted and sophisticated attempt to rig the next election,” Jagdeo said.
As such, Jagdeo stressed that the PPP will be vigilant for any such attempt. “We are working internationally to get international eyes on Guyana. Secondly we will expose any attempt to tamper with the process,” he said.
According to him, the PPP has also expressed concerns about the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) machinery, with Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, in charge – particularly given his move to have the Party’s elections petition, a challenge to the results of the May 2015 General and Regional Elections, not be heard in the High Court. “He has acted in a partisan manner in this case,” Jagdeo said.
He noted that moving forward special focus will be placed on the continuous registration cycle and the voters list, to ensure that there is no tampering with the process or the final list of electors. “We are aware that a few people have gone underground, missing from APNU camp, and they are busy working on matters,” the Opposition Leader said.
Jagdeo made clear that the Guyanese people must not think that the Party will “walk in unaware” of their concerns. “We will not lie down, roll over and give up. We are going to look at every single issue they may use in falsifying the results of the next elections,” he declared.