COVID-19 Task Force cannot visit recount venue today; decision on more work stations delayed

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Claudette Singh and other Commissioners and officials during an inspection of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Claudette Singh, Commissioners and officials during an inspection of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre ahead of the countrywide recount. 

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) was forced to postpone a meeting scheduled for today to make final decisions on the establishment of more work stations in order to accelerate the current recount process.

The meeting was postponed after the national COVID-19 Task Force was unable to visit the recount venue – Arthur Chung Conference Centre – today to make an assessment of the available spaces and advise on the appropriate number of additional work stations that can be established.

This was communicated to the media today by Yolanda Ward, Public Relations Officer of the Commission.

She said the COVID-19 Task Force will visit tomorrow at 10:00hrs and thereafter the Commission will meet to make its decisions.

GECOM yesterday decided to write the Task Force to invite officials to assess the location and advise on its proposal to increase the work stations.

This is in order to accelerate the process so that it can be completed in 25-days. With a current 10 work stations and the pace at which boxes are being counted, the recount exercise will go beyond the 25-day timeline.

Ward had told media operatives that the Commissioners have identified some potential areas for use in the facility and that the Chairperson requested that the Task Force field health officials today sometime around noon, in order “to have a look at those spaces to determine whether they would be conducive to have counting station.”

According to Ward, the Commission was looking to have an on the spot decision by the Government body with regards to the establishment of additional stations.

Afterwards, the Commission would have met and make final decisions in this regard.
However, Opposition-nominated Commissioner Sase Gunraj believes the permission from the COVID-19 Task Force is not necessary.

He had told media operatives that: “with the necessary medical advice, I believe we are free to make decisions in relation to the use of this building.” According to Gunraj, GECOM is an independent organisation.