More Charges Laid Against Guyana’s Former Health Minister

(CMC) — Chairman of the main opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Volda Lawrence was released on GUY$100,000 bail today after two new charges arising out of the disputed March 2 regional and general elections.

Lawrence has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud, one for the general elections and another for regional elections. The former health minister appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court and was granted GUY$50,000 bail on each count.

Her attorney, Nigel Lawrence told reporters that the Director of Public Prosecution’s office had indicated it was not yet prepared to proceed with the matter which has since been adjourned to December 9.

“I know I have done nothing wrong and I continue to say that because that’s what it is,” Lawrence said as she left the court to be greeted by supporters of the opposition coalition, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change.

She said she believes that there is an attempt to have a political pullback and use the State apparatus to harass and persecute her in the process.

On August 24, Lawrence was placed on GUY$100,000 bail in relation to a private criminal charge filed against her by People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) member and current Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr.

The opposition coalition has accused the PPP/C government of using the police force to unleash psychological warfare against the opposition.

The new charges against Lawrence come less than 48 hours after Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield was granted GUY$300,000 bail upon his appearance in court on new charges related to the disputed elections.

Lowenfield has been charged with three counts of misconduct in public office and three charges in relation to forgery. He was granted GUY$50,000 bail on each of the charges. He is scheduled to return to court on October 23.

Hughes said it appears as though the charges being filed against the chief elections officer and the deputy chief election officer are a means of removing them from the Guyana Elections Commission.

Last month, a case of fraud against Lowenfield was adjourned to October 26 even as one of his attorneys, Neil Boston, insisted that his client had no case to answer and would be seeking a dismissal when the matter is called up.

Lowenfield is facing charges of misconduct in public office, conspiracy to commit a felony, and fraud arising from the country’s local and general elections that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said was won by the main opposition PPP/C after a national recount had been undertaken and supervised by a three-member Caribbean Community observer team.