In his letter, “I incorrectly claimed that I personally witnessed electronic voter identification in Jamaica” (Stabroek News, December 22, 2022) Mr Sherwood Lowe, who has been a strong advocate for the use of biometrics for voter identification in Guyana, states that in his previous letter he had “a strange lapse in memory on my part … I incorrectly claimed that I personally witnessed Jamaica’s Electronic Voter Identification System (EVIS) at several polling stations as a member of the Carter Center Elections Observer Mission to the 2002 Jamaica elections.” He then clarifies “What I did witness was the use of photo ID on poll books to identify voters on polling day, a feature introduced in Jamaica elections for the first time with great success.
It is commendable of Mr Lowe to acknowledge his mistake and correct the record. However, this leaves one to ask how was the Jamaican system of voter identification in 2002 through “the use of photo ID on poll books”, which he claims was a “great success”, differs from the system of voter ID in Guyana in the 2020 General elections?
In a video clip presented by Capt Gerry Gouveia at the COI into the elections, Mr Fernando Ponz Cantó, the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) who was also an election observer, in recounting the voter ID process, states “one person came to vote, he/she has to identify himself, but then also has to be seen on the list, and there were pictures”.
It seems to me from afar that the process followed by Jamaica in 2002, as described by Mr Lowe, is not much different from the process followed by Guyana in 2020, as described by the EU’s Ambassador. If my observation is correct why then is it that the Jamaican process was a “great success” and the Guyana’s process allowed for fraudulent voting, especially when no such report was made on election day, and all the observers, including those from the Carter Centre (of which Mr Lowe states he was a team member in Jamaica in 2002), claim that the process was free and fair . As well, since Mr Lowe refers to Jamaica, he may want to reflect on what the Head of the OAS team of observers, Mr Bruce Golding, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, said of the 2020 Guyana elections “I have never seen a more transparent effort”. Certainly Mr Golding was eminently qualified, as a former Prime Minister of Jamaica, to make such a statement.