Day 18 of the national recount has seen the number of completed ballot boxes reaching the one thousand mark as 85 boxes were recounted at the end of today (Saturday, May 23, 2020).
This has brought the number of ballot boxes completed countrywide to 1,049 of a total of 2,339.
According to GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward, of the 85 completed boxes, Region Four completed the highest number for the day with 23.
This was followed by Region Six, which completed 20; Region Three with 16; Region Five with 15, and Region Seven with 11 boxed completed.
While the process has picked up the pace, just seven days are remaining before GECOM’s 25-day deadline for the exercise and there are 1,290 ballot boxes still to complete.
As such, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has expressed its disappointment that the Elections Commission did not take any steps to increase the 12 counting stations.
Speaking with media operatives this evening outside the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, PPP/C Executive, Anil Nandlall, pointed out that the establishment of additional stations is fundamental to increasing the speed of the process.
“I believe that GECOM itself has recognised that we need to increase the speed if we are to come close to the deadline fixed by GECOM,” he said, adding “…we were promised to have additional stations established. I thought it would’ve been done today because I thought that the matter was considered to be one of great urgency. But unfortunate, today has come to an end and we have seen no movement in that direction.”
According to Nandlall, a former Attorney General, the party is working every day to get the Elections Commission to not only establish more counting stations but also enforce its working orders and hours stipulated in order to get maximum output.
“Today again, the containers were closed at 5:30 PM and boxes were not released for counting at 5:30 PM. That we believe can easily be adjusted and extended to 6 o’clock as we had proposed, and that will bring greater speed to the system,” the PPP/C executive contended.
He noted that while the party is hoping that the recount exercise is concluded at the earliest time possible, it will nevertheless support an extension so that the process can reach finality.
“If the 25-day deadline is not met, of course we are not opposed to an extension. We hope that it will not be a long extension because like I said we would like this process to be completed with every convenience dispatch and speed… I cannot imagine that we would not support an extension because at the end of the day we would like the process to conclude,” Nandlall stated.
PPP/C Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali, said previously that the party has indicated to GECOM that it will only support an extension of seven days.