REPORT ON VERIFICATION: AFTER CLAIMS AND OBJECTIONS--PRESS STATEMENT Wednesday 19 August 2009
The Central Executive Committee, on 23 July 2009, approved the document entitled, VERIFICATION OF MEMBERSHIP LIST AND ACCREDITATION OF DELEGATES AND OBSERVERS: PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED. This document was submitted to all Party Groups.
In conformity with the agreed procedure, the Membership Register for each Party Group was dispatched to the respective groups to facilitate their review and to enable members to participate in rectifying any errors that may be observed. The agreed Claims and Objections period was 19 July to 9 August 2009.
The entire Party Membership Register was also posted in the Hall of Heroes at Congress Place for inspection and scrutiny by Candidates, members of the Central Executive Committee and Party Regional Officers.
Apart from a brief interruption with respect to four specific persons claiming to represent Dr Richard Van West Charles, this process ran very smoothly. It was brought to the attention of the Central Executive Committee, on Wednesday 5 August 2009 that these persons were systematically transcribing the entire Membership Register that was on display in the Hall of Heroes.
This was contrary to the decision of the CEC with respect to safeguarding the security and confidentiality of Party membership. The CEC, therefore, decided that those persons should be denied future access until the Chairman of the Verification Committee has investigated the matter and obtained a written assurance, from Dr Van West Charles, that the information so far transcribed has been securely stored and would be treated confidentially.
After the Commemorative ceremony to mark the Death Anniversary of our Founder Leader, on Thursday 6 August 2009, I spoke with Dr Van West Charles and explained to him why the CEC had taken the decision which I conveyed to him and advised that, until the written assurance was received, his representatives would not be admitted to inspect the Membership Register at Congress Place. This was also conveyed to his representatives, by the General Secretary, when they turned up at Congress Place later that morning. I want to make it clear that, contrary to the self-serving propaganda which was circulated on the internet and elsewhere, the inspection of the Membership Register was not suspended, what was suspended was the wholesale transcription of that register, by representatives of Dr Van West Charles, until the requested written assurance was received from him. It should that, to date, no such assurance has been received from Dr Van West Charles.
During the Claims and Objections period, complaints were received from Regions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9 – eleven (11) groups, namely, four groups from Region #2, three from Region #3, four groups from Region #4, five from Region #5 and one group from Region #9. A summary of the complaints are as follows:
5 names were incorrectly spelt; 3 names had incorrect membership ID numbers; 2 names were duplications; 1 person placed in an incorrect group; 9 persons deceased; 33 claims of names being omitted from groups register, application forms were never submitted to the Secretariat in respect of the named persons.
The only other submission was an individual one from Dr. Van West Charles which was delivered by letter, at 19:30 hrs on 9 August 2009. The list contained eighty-five (85) names who he alleged were persons either, “Dead, Migrated or Did Not Sign the membership application form”. No specific details of the category that each name fell under was supplied, even though his forwarding letter made several sweeping statements that were unsupported by any information provided. He was, therefore, requested to provide the relevant information to enable the verification Team to carry out its responsibilities expeditiously. This was submitted by letter, dated 11 August 2009, which I received on 12 August 2009.
The details, provided by Dr Van West Charles, listed fifty three (53) names of persons whom he claimed Did not Sign their membership application forms; fifteen (15) names of persons that he claimed had Migrated; and, twenty (20) names of persons whom he claimed were Dead.
The forwarding letter made several sweeping statements that were unsupported by any evidence provided. For example:
“systematic falsification of Party membership forms”
“persons overseas and who could not have reasonably signed a form”
“even a fourteen year old and activists of the PPP are included in the list of PNCR members.”
“discrepancies were found in the groups in which the Vice Chairpersons and the Director of Party Organisation exercise membership”
“systematic padding of the membership register”
The verification process ignored those unsupported statements and dealt with the names supplied. The process involved requesting the membership Department to extract the relevant source documents to be checked. After this was done the specific groups and Regional Officials were requested to provide further information and respond to the specific allegations. This exercise is still in progress. However, based on the responses received, so far, a determination could be made as to the requirements for further investigation.
It should be noted that of the 88 names submitted, there were one group in Region 2 (seven names); one group in Region 3 (eighteen names); four groups in Region 4 (twelve names); four groups in Region 5 (forty-two names); One group in Region 6 (four names); and one group in Region 10 (five names).
The summary of information received so far reveal the following:
“DID NOT SIGN” CATEGORY
It should be noted that no information was provided to the Verification Committee, by Mr. Van West Charles, to indicate on what basis he could substantiate his allegation that the forms were not signed by the applicants. The application forms are stored in the Party Secretariat and were not displayed for public viewing. The committee, therefore, proceeded to have the relevant membership forms extracted from the party records for examination.
After this was done a further enquiry was made from the Regional and Group Officials. Of the fifty-three names submitted, our examination of the forms revealed that they all had the purported signatures of the applicants. The Committee is in no position to verify the authenticity of the signatures, but sought to have the group and regional officials respond to the allegations. In all cases, the representatives contended that the signatures were authentic.
In some cases, they mentioned the names of persons who witnessed the signing of the documents. Given the time available, there is limited further action that would be possible before the Biennial Congress. For example, the engagement of handwriting expertise would require the members to submit to such tests. Such a decision would have to be made by the CEC and can be conducted at a later date. The numbers would not seriously affect the delegate representation of groups at Congress and, in any event, objections were only made to names from twelve groups.
No information was provided to indicate the basis upon which the allegation was made. The Committee first extracted the relevant application forms to verify their existence and due regularity. Requests were later made for a response from the groups. The responses varied but, generally, the groups were able to provide reasonable explanations for all of the names. Of the fifteen names submitted, signed membership application forms were found for all of the members.
Seven persons were reported to be continuously resident in Guyana and never ever left, one of whom is a delegate to Congress. Four persons were reported to be temporarily resident overseas, but visit regularly and insist on renewal whenever in Guyana. Of the four one was reported to be in Guyana during the period of inquiry and scheduled to leave on Monday 17 August 2009. One person was a group Chairman who recently left for a short vacation in the Caribbean. He is listed as a Delegate to Congress and reported to be returning for the event.
Three were reported to be resident in Guyana, but are retired and spend extended vacations with their children overseas. They, however, insist on renewing their membership whenever in Guyana. One of these persons is a well-known stalwart of over forty years membership.
No supporting information was provided but the Committee began the process by checking the source documents. Of the twenty names provided, five persons were reported to be alive. Of these, one is identified as a Head Master in the village; one a delegate to Congress, one a senior citizen; and one away in the gold fields.
Eight persons were confirmed as dead by the group and the deaths were claimed to be recent. Seven of them were already reported to the Secretariat by the group, during the verification period, and adjustments made to the Register.
Two of the names submitted were not found on the register.
One name submitted was found on the register but when the membership form was finally located it was discovered that there was a typographical error in the First name. Instead of “Joy Ann” it was listed as “Joan Ann” in the register. It was revealed that a “Joan Ann “of a similar title had in fact died. The name was corrected on the Register to reflect what was on the membership Form.
Information is still outstanding on four of the names listed.
People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Wednesday 19 August 2009
PROCESS FOR THE NOMINATION, VERIFICATION AND ACCREDITATION OF DELEGATES
1. Eligibility for Being Nominated to be a Delegate:
The General Secretary, in Circular No. 1 dated 11 May 2009, informed all Party Groups that:
“The General Council at its meeting on Saturday March28, 2009 agreed that, in accordance with the Constitution, all party members who are financial as at 31st May 2009, would be eligible to attend Congress but of these, only those who were members for a full party year that is June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009 would be eligible to be nominated as Delegates to Congress. Any other member will qualify only as an Observer…..”
2. Entitlement to Delegate Representation:
In that same Circular, the General Secretary pointed out that, in accordance with Rule 15 (2) of the Party’s Constitution:
“2. (a). Each Party Group shall be entitled to send to Congress one (1) delegate for every ten (10)financial members.
2.(b). Each GYSM group shall be entitled to send to Congress one (1) delegate for every ten 10) members between the ages of 18 and 35 and one delegate for every twenty five (25) below the age of 18 years.
2.(c). The NCW shall be entitled to send as delegates to Congress all members of its National Executive Committee and three (3) members from each Region.
2.(d). All Members of the General Council and Party Nominees to the Parliament shall be entitled to attend the Biennial Congress and participate in its deliberations, but of these only Party Members have the right to vote merely by virtue of office.”
3. Number of Observers:
In accordance with Rule 15 (3), the General Secretary may accredit, as Observers at Congress, any number of persons (whether members or not) he may consider expedient.
However, by Circular No. 2 dated 15 June 2009, the General Secretary notified that the number of Observers for each Group would be restricted to no more than five (5) members.
4. Nomination of Delegates, Observers and Candidates:
The General Secretary, in Circular No. 2 dated 15 June 2009, notified each Party, GYSM and NCW Group that:
“The appropriate return forms for the submission of Delegates and Observers by Party/GYSM groups and by the National Congress of Women are enclosed. Also enclosed is the Nomination form for Party Officers and fifteen (15) members of the Central Executive Committee. Party groups are hereby requested to convene a special meeting for the purpose of conducting the business of identifying Delegates and Observers as well as their list of nominees for Party Officers and members of the Central Executive Committee. Every effort must be made to ensure that nominations and other submissions are received at the Secretariat on or before Wednesday July 15, 2009.”
5. Regional Official to Properly Identify the Region’s Delegates and Observers:
The General Secretary, in Circular No. 2 dated 15 June 2009, requested each Region of the Party to notify the Secretariat of “…the names of the designated Regional Officials who will be in charge of its contingent to Congress.” He advised that “.. the designated Regional Officials would ensure that the Region’s delegates and observers are properly identified for registration and also be the point of reference in all matters concerning the welfare of the Region’s contingent.”
The named Regional Official(s) will be asked to be present at the Registration desk to identify each of the Members, who they have notified the General Secretary, should be accredited as a Delegate or Observer for the Region.
6. Verification of Delegates and Observers by Groups:
By 15 July 2009, each Party Group provided the Party Secretariat with their List of Nominees to be Accredited as Delegates or Observers. By 9 August 2009, the Lists of Nominees, provided to the Secretariat, were checked to ensure that the persons nominated qualified to be accredited as Delegates or Observers and that the number of persons Nominated were in conformity with the Delegate or Observer entitlement of the Party Group.
7. The Registration/Accreditation of Delegates:
As stated, in the document entitled, “THE REGISTRATION AND ELECTIONS PROCESSES FOR THE 16th BIENNIAL CONGRESS, 21-22 AUGUST 2009”, which was approved by the Central Executive Committee on 8 August 2009:
“When the Registration Officer has been satisfied that the Delegate or Observer is properly identified, that Delegate or Observer would be issued with an easily distinguishable pre-prepared numbered Delegate or Observer ID Card. The ID Card would show the name, Group and Region represented by the Delegate or Observer and would be signed by the Convenor of the Accreditation Committee.
The Delegate or Observer will be required to sign the Register of Delegates or Observers, confirming that he/she has received his/her ID Card.”
8. The Issuing of an ID card for a Replacement Delegate:
The person, who the Group would like to replace an already Accredited Delegate, must be qualified to be accredited as a Delegate. This would be verified, from the Membership Register, before a new Delegate ID Card is prepared for the Replacement Delegate.
In those cases where a timely application has been made, for the Replacement of an already Accredited Delegate, this transaction will be undertaken at a separate Registration Desk.
The original Delegate ID Card would be withdrawn and a new Delegate ID Card, with a new number, will be issued.
The Register of Delegates would record that the original Delegate ID Card has been cancelled and a new ID Card has been issued to the Replacement Delegate.
9. Submission of the Complete List of Delegates to the Returning Officer:
The Convenor of the Accreditation Committee will be responsible for providing the Returning Officer, before the commencement of the conduct of the Elections, with a complete list of all Delegates, ordered by the Region he/she represents, along with the list of Automatic Delegates.
10. Roll Call of Delegates before they are Seated for the Conduct of the Elections:
Each Delegate will be required to prominently wear his/her ID Card, showing his/her name, Group and Region, in preparation for the conduct of the Elections. Therefore, before the commencement of Balloting, the Returning Officer would be able to conduct a Roll Call and identification of each Delegate, before he/she is seated, in the seats reserved for the Region from which he/she is drawn.
Prepared By: E. Lance Carberry, MP
Congress Accreditation Committee
16 August 2009
Copyright 2008-2009 PNCR. All Rights Reserved.
Designed By: Denton Osborne