R 101835Z DEC 80
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4305
INFO AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN
CONFIDENTIAL GEORGETOWN 5859
E.O. 12065: GDS 12/9/86 (SONANDRES, THOMAS W. OR-P
TAGS: PINT, GY
SUBJECT: ALLEGATIONS THAT DECEASED JONESTOWN RESIDENTS APPEAR ON GUYANA VOTING LISTS
REF: STATE 323402 (NOTAL)
1. (C – entire text)
2. Summary: The Embassy gives little credence to the PPP allegations that twelve specifically named deceased Jonestown residents are on the voter rolls, but we suspect that the rules contain numerous other inaccuracies. We recommend that Department press conference, however, be limited to citing the recent GOG press release on the subject, avoiding any comment in this pre-election period on the fairness of the elections other than to repeat Mr. Warme’s Bridgetown statement that we hope the poll will be free and fair. We do not have specific evidence of election fraud, and USG commented about this before
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the elections seems most inopportune. End summary.
3. The Embassy gives little credence to specific PPP allegations, contained in a November 22 PPP press release, that twelve deceased Jonestown residents appear on the North West District electoral list (reftel). The December 7 government daily “Chronicle” printed a Home Affairs Ministry press release of the previous day which refuted these allegations. The article termed that a coincidence that twelve Jonestown deceased shared names with living and properly registered Guyanese in the area, publishing photographs and biographic data of several of these Guyanese. Additionally, the Guyana Registrar General and Elections Commission chairman vigorously denied the PPP’s allegations to an Emboff on December 7.
[Ten-line paragraph withheld under Exemption B-1]
5. In this pre-election period, however, the Embassy recommends that Department press guidance be limited
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to referring to the GOG December 6 press release which reads in part, quote: While no preliminary list could ever be perfect, and while every opportunity was afforded to all parties and even individuals to effect appropriate amendments to that list, the fact is that the residents of Jonestown were never registered in Guyana, and therefore could not have been on the preliminary list for elections. It is true that very often persons bearing similar names and other particulars have been registered in the same area. This could, when published, appear to represent a duplication, but in fact, when checked against the records would be seem to be quite correct. (Paragraph) With regards to the names mentioned in the PPP’s statement, we are satisfied that the persons mentioned are definitely not American citizens but are Guyanese by birth, and nationality. As far as the official records go, they have had no association with Jonestown, and in most, if not all cases, they were first registered before the date of the establishment of the Jonestown community. (Paragraph) In order to put an end to speculation, therefore, we supply hereunder particulars of some of the persons mentioned to establish that while certain Jonestown residents might have borne those names, there are many Guyanese, and indeed many West Indians as well, with similar names. We are also making available to the national print media in Guyana photographs of some of the persons involved. End quote. Copies of PPP and GOG releases being pouched ARA/CAR.
Comment: The PPP allegation appears inaccurate, [balance of sentence withheld under Exemption B-1]. We do not have concrete evidence and therefore would consider it most inopportune to come to any conclusions on the fairness and honesty of the elections until after December 15.
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We think it would be useful, however, to repeat the hope publicly expressed by ARA/CAR Director Warne during his recent present conference in Bridgetown at the Guyanese poll be free and fair. The PPP’s “Mirror” can at that time make excellent points, but it tends to print anything supporting its views without concern for accuracy. This time, it appears off-base. [balance of paragraph, three lines, withheld under Exemption B-1].