50 days after, still no date for elections recount

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Claudette Singh and other Commissioners and officials inspected the ACCC for a second time on Monday.

It is now fifty (50) days after the General and Regional Elections were held and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is yet to announce a date for the beginning of the recount of votes cast at the polls, saying that it is now awaiting the finalising of logistics for the arrival of the team of observers to be fielded by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) before announcing a date.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Commission explained the decision to have the Caricom officials not be quarantined, but instead tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), before arriving in the country for the recount.

The Commission in its statement said it is against this backdrop, once all the details have been finalised in relation to this matter, that a commencement date for the national recount would be announced and that it “remains resolute at ensuring the recount exercise commences within the shortest possible time and concludes in an expeditious, credible and transparent manner.”

In the meantime, there continues to be mounting pressure and threats from the international community that Guyana could face sanctions if the final results of the polls are not deemed credible. As recent as Monday, the Delegation of the European Union here said that there is still an opportunity for the country to come out of this situation without having to face any sanctions.

During an interview on a local radio programme on Monday, EU Ambassador Fernando Ponz Canto posited that there is still hope for Guyana to get out of its current political impasse without facing any sanctions, but there is a crucial need for the recount process to be verified as credible and a winner be declared only on this basis.

The CARICOM team

According to the diplomat, while the EU is obligated to suspend cooperation if there is a breach of democracy, which is one of the shared common principles in the Cotonou Agreement – of which Guyana is a party – he would not like to see this happen.

After two declarations from Region Four’s (Demerara-Mahaica) Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, which lacked transparency, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and caretaker President David Granger had agreed to have Caricom oversee the recount.

That agreement was derailed when A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) candidate, Ulita Moore, moved to the courts and secured an injunction against the exercise.

That injunction was discharged by the Full Court and later, the Full Court’s decision was upheld by the Appeals Court.

GECOM has since re-invited Caricom to observe the recount process.