Guyana: avanza con lentitud el recuento de votos y la Comisión Electoral deja de dar a los observadores copias de las declaraciones
GECOM stops giving observers copies of Statements of Recount
Observers, local and international, currently participating in the national recount exercise of votes cast in the March 02, 2020 elections are no longer receiving copies of Statements of Recount (SORs) after each ballot box is recounted.
When the recount exercise commenced last Wednesday, observers along with the CARICOM scrutineers and party agents were being handed copies of the SORs once these were signed by the party agents present.
GECOM has since stopped disseminating copies to the observers and are only giving same to the CARICOM team and party agents.
APNU+AFC nominated Commissioner of GECOM, Vincent Alexander explained on Monday that the statements were given to the observers in error.
He explained that the current gazette order which outlines the guidelines for the recount does not provide for such.
Alexander also explained that it is not the standard operating procedure for observers participating in elections here.
He said while the information was brought to the Commission’s attention it was also noted by the Secretariat, which corrected the situation.
According to the order, the result of the general and regional recount of each ballot box shall be recorded as provided for on a Statement of Recount upon the completion of the recount of each box.
The Statement of Recount shall be signed by the person conducting the recount and by the representative of each contesting party present, in the presence of the CARICOM Scrutinising Team, representatives of political parties that contested the said elections, International and Local Observers accredited by the Guyana Elections Commission, and advisors to the Guyana Elections Commission.
These documents shall be lodged with the Chief Election Officer and copies distributed to the signatories thereto, the CARICOM Scrutinising Team and the Chairman and Commissioners.
PPP demands GECOM release SoPs amid fraudulent declaration by Mingo
The National Recount of votes cast on March 2, 2020, is, daily, exposing Region Four’s Returning Officer’s (RO) declarations as fraudulent and the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is again calling on the Elections Commission to release its Statements of Polls (SoPs), since its credibility is now at stake.
The Region Four RO, Clairmont Mingo, is being accused of declaring results for the region that are now being proven as inflated in favour of the incumbent A Partnership For National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC).
Over the past few days, there have been several instances where the figures that were released by Mingo did not match the actual numbers of the official Statements of Poll (SoPs) and the Statements of Recount (SoRs). Some of the figures have been inflated by 100 in some instances in favour of the APNU/AFC and in some cases, the numbers for the PPP/C have been reduced.
In light of the this, Presidential Candidate of the PPP/C, Dr Irfaan Ali stated that it is time for the elections body to release its SoPs since the Statements of Recounts (SoRs) that are being generated from the recount have matched the SoPs published by the PPP/C.
“We have our SoPs,” Dr Ali reminded but indicated also that there are also audio recordings of the declarations used by Mingo at various boxes.”
“And then no one would have to point their fingers to any political party, saying ‘how did you get this number or this is your number…It is GECOM who are in possession of the SoPs; they’re in possession of Mingo’s declaration and they’re in possession of the SoRs so far.”
As such, Ali argued, “in the interest of the public, in the interest of transparency, we would love for GECOM to publish these three so that the public can have it and the media can have it,”
According to the PPP/C’s Presidential Candidate, an easy way to find out whether the declaration by Mingo is false is for GECOM to make the documents public so that the citizenry can compare and draw their own conclusions.
Meanwhile, former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has also reiterated calls for GECOM to make these disclosures and pointed out that “the fact that the recount is taking place means that Mingo’s declaration is invalid and will not be accepted.”
“If Mingo’s declaration was valid then why are we doing a recount?” he questioned, highlighting, “We are doing a recount specifically because Mingo’s declaration is not valid.”
Nandlall, who is one of the PPP/C’s party agents in the recount, revealed that on Sunday, a number of inconsistencies between Mingo’s declaration and the figures emanating from the recount arose.
“Today alone, several boxes that were counted vividly illustrated and demonstrated the fraud that Mingo perpetrated in those declarations. Today, in particular, several of the boxes that Mingo dealt with and produced false figures in that spreadsheet were today debunked by the actual ballots that were reckoned and counted. As we go deeper and deeper, everyday Mingo’s fraud is going to be revealed and is being unravelled as the day progresses,” he told media operatives outside the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).
Nandlall went on to point to the origin of those discrepancies, noting that even though a court challenge over Mingo tabulating the votes without using SoPs was before the court, he never halted the process but opted to have it continue using his incorrect method while the issue was before the court.
The former Attorney General also used the opportunity to raise concerns of continued efforts by APNU/AFC agents to delay the recount by raising unnecessary objections to votes and ballots cast by certain voters on unsubstantiated grounds.
Pointing to what he dubbed as a “ridiculous” attempt on Sunday, Nandlall shared, “An objection was raised by another party when the Pearl Nursery School box was being counted and the serial number of the voter was being objected to and that voter turned out to be David Granger. So, I want the public to know how ridiculous this thing is unfolding.”
Meanwhile, at the end of day five of the recount, 51 boxes were counted, taking the total thus far to 208 ballot boxes out of the 2339 total. This update was provided by GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward, who disclosed that the count at the end of Sunday was as follows – Region One, 11 boxes; Region Two, 10 boxes; Region Three, 17 boxes, and Region Four, 13 boxes.
She also indicated that so far, 190 boxes have been tabulated for the General Elections while 180 boxes have been tabulated for the Regional Elections, noting that she anticipates that the gap will close in the coming days.
GECOM to review 25-days recount timeline tomorrow
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is expected to have a Commission meeting tomorrow where the Chairperson Justice Claudette Singh and the six Commissioners will review the 25-days timeline initially allocated for the national recount.
This is according to GECOM’s Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward who was providing an update to media operatives on Day Six of the countrywide recount.
As of 13:00hrs today, 19 ballot boxes were counted, bringing the total of boxes processed so far to 227.
There are 2,339 ballot boxes to be processed.
Some political parties have already raised concerns regarding whether GECOM will complete the exercise within 25 days.
“Based on their analysis, they do not believe the Commission will be able to meet the 25-day timeline…the Chair has indicated that that review will take place a Commission meeting tomorrow. After that meeting, we are hopeful that the commission will be able to provide some guidance as it relates to where we go from here,” Ward said.
She reasoned that the Commission will deliberate on whether the timeline will be extended or whether measures can be put in place to accelerate the process to meet the initial 25-day timeline.
Currently, ballot boxes from Regions 1, 2, 3 and 4 are being counted across ten work stations.
According to Ward, Region 1 might be the first to be completed, after which, the count will move on to Region 5.
There are 99 boxes to be counted from Region 1, 135 for Region 2, 355 for Region 3, 879 for Region 4, 158 for Region 5, 378 for Region 6, 82 for Region 7, 55 for Region 8, 73 for Region 9, and 125 for Region 10.