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GUYANA | Returning Officer arrested on private charges by ruling PPP

  • Written by Source:Demerara Waves
  • Published in Politics
Featured Returning Officer for Region Four Clairmont Mingo who was arrested on private criminal charges by the new PPP government Returning Officer for Region Four Clairmont Mingo who was arrested on private criminal charges by the new PPP government
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, August 26, 2020 - In what appears to be an electoral inquisition being pursued by  Guyana’s new PPP government, the police yesterday afternoon arrested the Returning Officer for the controversial Region Four Clairmont Mingo at his  house at Calcutta, Mahaicony, his Attorney-at-Law Darren Wade said.

Mingo's was arrested on private criminal charges by the ruling People's Progressive Party and follows the arrest on similar charges of the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and People’s National Congress Reform Chairman Volda Lawrence.

Mingo was escorted by police to the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters at Eve Leary in connection with alleged electoral fraud.

Mingo's attorney Darren Wade said the police refused to allow him to see his client or to be present during questioning, which amounted to a breach Mingo’s constitutional rights.

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PNC Chair Volda Lawrence

He is accused by the PPP of conspiring with the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and People’s National Congress Reform Chairman Volda Lawrence to commit fraud.

“He was provided with no information about why he was removed from his home. He was afforded no explanation. He had to insist to get some idea as to why he is here. I don’t believe that was put to him in any clear way,” said Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde and Attorney-at-Law Darren Wade.

Police said late Tuesday night that police also arrested 42-year old Carolyn Mikhaik Duncan, an Elections Commission Registration Officer who  was attached to Mr. Mingo’s Secretariat. “They are still in custody assisting with the investigation,” police said.

The lawyers claimed that Mr. Mingo’s legal rights for a lawyer to be present while he was being questioned were breached and that he was arrested from his home without an arrest warrant.

Mr. Forde also called out the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) for being selective on issues such as democracy but silent on the violation of the rights of accused persons by police.  “I would wish my colleagues in the Bar Association to understand that democracy is more than just elections. It’s an entire system; it’s about the rule of law. I have heard them conspicuously silent,” said Mr. Forde who is tipped to be the Shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs when the Parliament convenes.

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Chief Electoral Officer Keith Lowenfield

Mr. Forde singled out GBA President Teni Housty and Secretary Pauline Chase for failing to condemning the conduct and the attitude of the police concerning Mr. Mingo as well as the recent search of People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) executive member, Christopher Jones’ home and the seizure of several barbershop chairs and other equipment he had acquired from a government-funded small business development fund.

Attorney-at-Law Wade said “we made attempts to have discussions with the police but the police did not afford us that opportunity…They said they were busy at this moment,”

Mr. Forde said the Region Four Returning Officer informed him that police asked him questions but he kept “insisting that he would like to have his lawyers present.” Mr. Wade said he was allowed to speak briefly with Mr, Mingo instead of being present during the interrogation.

The Guyana Police Force has  announced that it has received complaints of alleged electoral crimes and that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Hack has since taken over the private criminal charges filed against Mr. Mingo, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform Volda Lawrence. The complainants are Desmond Morean, Josh Kanhai and Charles Ramson.

Mr. Lowenfield and Ms. Lawrence, who are on bail on separate charges, are to return to court on September 11 by which time their Defence Lawyers would be provided with elements of the cases.

Ms. Lawrence, who was an election agent for her A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC)  coalition at the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections, is charged with procuring Mr. Mingo to forge a declaration of results. Mr. Lowenfield is charged with misconduct in public office, fraud and conspiracy to commit a felony. They are both on bail.

The results from the national vote recount for nine of the 10 administrative regions matched the declarations, except for Region Four where there were bloated figures that had sought to give it a win in that district and consequently the general election.

Last modified onWednesday, 26 August 2020 07:48
  • Countries: Guyana