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Dec 29, 2014

P.U.P. Questions Transfer of Cayo North Registering Officer

The by-election in Cayo North is scheduled for January fifth, 2014. On December twenty-second, 2014, three days before Christmas, the Registering Officer for that division, Jerrylyn Bruce, received a letter from the Elections and Boundaries Department informing her of her transfer out, effective December twenty-third. Now even without the looming by-election, the sudden transfer of a senior public officer, with only one day’s notice would raise eyebrows. But Bruce is the Registering Officer and supervisor in Cayo North, where there’ll be an election in one week. So more than just raising eyebrows, it’s been the cause for serious alarm in the People’s United Party. Today, P.U.P. Chairman Henry Charles Usher told News Five that they’ve launched an investigation into the matter because from their perspective, the sudden transfer reeks of political manipulation and trickery.


Henry Charles Usher, Chairman, People’s United Party

Henry Charles Usher

“Just on the face of it, this raises red flags because who moves a senior public officer in one day, first of all, and secondly this the Registering officer for an area which is having a by-election in a week’s time…or when this letter was written, two week’s time – you’re moving a senior supervisor – she was the supervisor for Cayo North and Cayo Northeast, and you’re moving her two weeks before a by-election, so just on the face of it this letter raises a lot of red flags with us in the Party and we feel it’s our duty to bring it to the public. What we have heard, and this is an unconfirmed report, is that the real reason Ms. Bruce is being moved is that she refused to do the bidding of a senior U.D.P. political official in the Cayo District. You see, Mike, there are election binders that very sacred in all elections, because those binders have the voters’ information and it also has a picture of the voter. So if a voter comes to the election polls, and they don’t have a picture ID, you go and you check the binder, and if that name matches with the picture on the binder, then that person is allowed to vote. Each political party must get authorization from the Chief Elections Officer to view the binders, and by viewing the binders I mean you go into the office, you go through it and you make sure that your list is accurate with what the binders have. You cannot remove those binders from the office. Again, like I told you, it’s unconfirmed, but I have been informed that a senior U.D.P. official tried to remove those binders from the office. Ms. Bruce, as a supervisor, refused to allow that person to remove the binders and thus now, this letter comes out.  I would really like to call on the Chief Elections Officer responsible for Elections and Boundaries, and also the Minister of Public Service, Mr. Gibson, to explain why it is that a senior public officer, supervisor in an office, is being removed and is given one day’s notice to pack up her things and leave the office. To me that is highly irregular, it raises red flags, and we want a free and fair election, a free and fair by-election.”


News Five tried to reach Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai for comment today, but we were told that she was in a meeting all day. We also tried repeatedly to reach Minister of the Public Service Charles Gibson, with no success. We did reach one official in the Ministry who told us that the transfer of the senior public officer from Cayo North, with one day’s notice less than two weeks before a by-election, is completely normal and certainly not politically tainted. 

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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