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GUYANA | Government intensifies pressure on GECOM Staff, Political Opposition

  • Written by Wiredja.com
  • Published in Politics
Featured Police Headquarters, Brickdam, Georgetown Police Headquarters, Brickdam, Georgetown
GEORGETOWN, October 20, 2020 - As the hearing of the Elections Petitions case by the Guyana Supreme Court into the March 2 General Elections draws closer, the new PPP administration appears to be using the Guyana police force to intensify its pressure on the staff of the Guyana Elections Commission as well as the harassment of targeted members of the APNU/AFC Coalition.

Amanza Desir 350 Only last week, Member of Parliament  and Co-Counsel in the two election petitions cases, Amanza Walton Desir observed in a press conference, that there would be increased pressure from the police against GECOM employees and members of the political opposition.  “the desperation that we see characterizing the PPP’s action, is a good indicator that they are uncomfortable with the elections petition, and that they know fully well that the prospects for success are significant and so I expect that in the coming days we will continue to see further attempts to humiliate and dehumanize members of staff of GECOM,” Walton Desir said.

When the Chair of the Opposition Peoples National Congress (PNC) Volda Lawrence and her lawyer Nigel Hughes turned up at CID Headquarters this morning after being invited to do so, she was again peppered with the same questions asked last week.

The police were again faced with the same answers, which last week resulted in the laying of two counts of conspiracy to defraud against her, in relation to the 2020 elections, and the declaration of results by the Region Four Returning Officer.

Today, the former government minister, along with Election Agent for the PNC Reform Carol Smith, after being questioned by the Police, declared their innocence of what they feel are politically motivated charges and were told to attend Court tomorrow to face totally new charges.

Also facing the wrath of the police inquisition today, was GECOM Employee Michelle Miller who got incensed with the police questioning, as they ignored sanctity of her religious practice as well as her medical condition for which she is receiving treatment.

Ms Miller today issued a statement under the guidance of her attorneys Latoya Roberts and Eusi Anderson. The following is the full text of Ms Miller’s Statement:

Michelle Miller 350
Clerk to the Returning Officer, Michelle Miller.

1. Since September 14, 2020 I have been reporting to the CID HQ Eve Leary daily, Monday –Friday, as per the instructions on Inspector Stevens that was given to me by the Diarist stationed at CID on the said date.

2. On Friday October 16, 2020 I went to report to CID as per normal around 2:20pm, and while doing so, I was there informed that in furtherance to the police investigation, I had to remain for the police to conduct a video/audio interview with me on the said day. I immediately asked for my Attorney-at-law to present while the said interview was being conducted and I was allowed to make contact with my Attorney.

3. My Attorney, Ms. Latoya Roberts, arrived at CID at approximately 3:27pm. At the said moment I was being interviewed by two ranks that were taking particulars as to my name, address, contact information and the said details about my close relatives. At 3:36pm I was asked to sign an entry that was made in the Station Diary to the effect that the video/audio interview will be conducted and that I was permitted to contact my Attorney to attend said interview.

4. I was then allowed to speak to my Attorney, and together we sat on a bench in CID until approximately 4:06pm, when Detective Corporal Hinds informed us that the interview was ready to begin.

5. The interview was conducted by Detective Corporal Hinds and Woman Sergeant McBean, who performed the duty of being the scribe.

6. At the commencement of the said interview and in response to questions asked, I informed Detective Corporal Hinds that I had not had lunch as yet, since I had rushed down to report to the CID after cooking, expecting to simply sign the entry in the Station Diary evidencing that I had done so, as had obtained on all previous occasions.

7. Nevertheless, I went ahead with the interview, as this was now the third time I was being interviewed by officers at CID since my initial arrest on August 26, 2020, though it was the first time an audio/video interview was being conducted. I knew I had nothing to hide so I was eager to get the exercise over with to head home to my mother and prepare for my Sabbath.

8. Corporal Hinds asked me in excess of forty-five (45) questions during the course of the said interview, and on three (3) occasions he put to me the allegation that between March 2-5 I conspired with Clairmont Mingo and others to commit electoral fraud by calling out numbers from a Spreadsheet instead of the Statement of Polls which resulted in the APNU/AFC being declared the winners of the 2020 Regional and General Elections.

9. On all occasions I denied the said allegations, as I never called out numbers from any Spreadsheet during the said Election.  I also informed Corporal Hinds that my duties at all times during the Election period was to ensure that meals and materials were provided to the individuals working in the office. I denied being a Registration Officer as same was not my duty, and I also denied taking any instructions from Clairmont Mingo or anyone else at Ashmins Building during the time period in question to assist with the commission of any act that would constitute electoral fraud.

10. The interview ended at approximately 5:11pm and I was asked to sit on the bench in CID HQ and await further instructions. I was also informed by Corporal Hinds that I could get something to eat from the Police Canteen, but I informed him that due to my Chronic Hypertension, I had to be very mindful of what I ate, and consequently I ate foods that I prepared personally so as to not spike an increase in my blood pressure.

11. At approximately 5:38pm, I was informed that I had to return to CID the next morning at 7:30am for a further interview to be conducted, as per the instructions of ASP. Caesar. I immediately protested the directive and pointed out the fact that I am Seventh-day Adventist, and that Saturday was my day of worship. I made these protests to Corporal Hinds and Sergeant McBean, but they both stated that only ASP. Caesar could change the instructions given.

12. My Attorneys-at-law, Mr Eusi Anderson and Ms. Latoya Roberts, also protested the directive and requested that I report of Sunday instead and be allowed to enjoy my Constitutional right to freedom of worship, but their protests too went unheeded.

13. I then asked to speak to Mr. Caesar and repeated my request to him, while my Attorneys petitioned him on my behalf asking if I could report on Sunday or Monday instead. However, Mr. Caesar stated that he had to go to church on Sunday, and that the police had a deadline to work with so I could not report on Monday.

14. On Saturday October 17, 2020 I arrived at CID HQ at 7:20am. None of the Officers previously mentioned were present at the said time. My Attorney, Ms. Latoya Roberts arrived at 7:45am, and Woman Constable Downes made an entry in the Station Diary as to my arrival which I signed.

15. Detective Corporal Hinds arrived at 8:15am, while Woman Sergeant McBean arrived at 9:14am. On his arrival at 8:15am Corporal Hinds informed me that the interview would commence shortly, but I sat and waited for in excess of 3hrs before same began.

16. At 9:35am Corporal Hinds informed Ms. Roberts and I that the interview would commence in about two (2) minutes as the rank needed to operate the equipment was over at the Brickdam Police Station.

17. I began to feeling very anxious and frustrated as my right to observe the tenets of my faith were being trampled upon, without just cause by the very officials who were bestowed with the duty to protect those rights. I checked my blood pressure at 10:20am even as I tried to calm myself and the reading was 168/112, an increase from the reading I had gotten before I left home.

18. By 10:45am the interview had not yet commenced and my Attorney, Ms. Latoya Roberts, placed a call to ASP Caesar and informed him of the current situation. She again requested that I be allowed to leave and report on Sunday or Monday, but her request was denied.

19. At 10:47am I was taken to the interview room where the interview commenced with Corporal Hinds and Sergeant McBean. When I was permitted to speak I informed the said officers that I had already spoken to police officers in relation to the said matter on three (3) separate occasions, and though I had always cooperated with the police the same courtesy was not being extended to me.

20. I also informed the said rank that I was feeling unwell and that my blood pressure was high. I further stated to him that since I had already told the police everything that I knew, and since I had no involvement in the allegations being made to me, I would reserve my right to remain silent throughout the interview.

21. I was then asked a series of questions by Corporal Hinds, each of which I responded to by informing him that I reserved the right to remain silent.

22. This interview ended at 11:04am, and after signing a diary entry detailing what occurred, I was permitted to leave the CID HQ with instructions to return on Monday at 9:00am.

23. As at Saturday October 17, 2020 I was interviewed by various police officers in relation to this very matter on four (4) separate occasions without being charged. The police have breached several of my rights to date and appear to be acting with impunity.

 Law Offices of Latoya Roberts &  Eusi Anderson Esq.

October 20, 2020

  • Countries: Guyana