GECOM legally bound to make declaration today

GECOM Chairperson Justice Claudette Singh (center) flanked by the six Commissioners

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is meeting again today to finalise its “deliberations” before making a declaration of the results for the March 2 General and Regional Elections, more than three-and-half months since the electorate went to the polls.

The Commission met yesterday (Monday) and adjourned for another meeting today. It is not clear as to the reasons for the discussions not being finalised yesterday considering the fact that the verified results are already widely known, and hence, the process leading towards a final declaration by the Commission should have been straight forward.

The Commission is now legally required, based on the gazetted Recount Order No.60 of 2020, to complete those discussions and declare the winner based on the credible recount process, no later than today (Tuesday, June 16).

The Commission is expected to consider reports from both Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Observation Team.

On his part, while CEO Lowenfield’s figures confirms a victory for the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), he went outside of his ambit and sided with the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) when he said the March 2 polls lacked credibility and fairness owing to the unsubstantiated allegations of dead and migrated persons voting.

Neither Lowenfield nor the APNU/AFC produced a shred of definitive evidence to support those allegations. All of the Observers, both local and international, have also since debunked these claims by the Coalition.

Legal experts have argued that, if the Coalition is serious about pursuing its case of voter fraud, it should approach the Courts to seek redress, but the results based on the national recount should be declared first.

Meanwhile, the high-level CARICOM Electoral Observer Team, deemed “the most legitimate interlocutors” in Guyana’s political crisis, concluded that the results emanating from the National Recount are credible, acceptable, and should be the basis from which GECOM declares the final results.

“Overall, while we acknowledge that there were some defects in the recount of the March 02, 2020 votes cast for the General and Regional Elections in Guyana, the team did not witness anything which would render the recount, and by extension the casting of the ballot on March 02, so grievously deficient procedurally or technically, (despite some irregularities), or sufficiently deficient to have thwarted the will of the people and consequently preventing the election results and its declaration by GECOM from reflecting the will of the voters. The actual count of the vote was indeed transparent,” the Team noted in its report.

The curtains on the national recount of ballots came down on Monday last. The data generated from the 2339 Statements of Recount (SoRs) shows that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) won with a total of 233,336 votes. This is 15,416 more votes than its nearest rival, the APNU/AFC, which received 217,920 total votes.