GECOM must stop kowtowing to APNU/AFC’s COVID-19 Task Force – Jagdeo

Bharrat Jagdeo

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is calling on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to stop acting in a subservient manner to the APNU/AFC COVID-19 Task Force – which has been delaying the establishment of more work stations to fast-track the ongoing recount.

“The Commission has to stop kowtowing to the COVID-19 Task Force…they need to stop kowtowing to them and make a decision to forge ahead with the recount and let the COVID-19 Task Force just come in and see that the protocol is fully implemented,” Jagdeo asserted during a virtual press briefing this morning.

GECOM decided on Wednesday to move in the direction of establishing more work stations to speed up the recount exercise so that it can be completed in 25 days.

The COVID-19 Task Force was invited to visit the recount site – the Arthur Chung Conference Centre – the following day to make an assessment and provide recommendations.

However, the Task Force claimed it was otherwise engaged and could not make the trip until Thursday.

After visiting on Thursday morning, the Task Force promised a report by Friday morning. By Friday evening, however, the Task Force had not submitted any report.

As a consequence, GECOM has not yet made any decision regarding the establishment of more work stations.

But Jagdeo is contending that “the Commission can establish as many work stations as it wants” and that “the COVID-19 Task Force just has to ensure that the protocol is maintained, that is, the protocol to keep people safe…”

According to the Opposition Leader, “this is an APNU-inspired delay of the process because they just want to drag this out longer so they can hang on to power, hoping that by some miracle, something would happen which would alter the results coming out of the [Arthur Chung Conference Centre]”.

GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj has long held the view that does not need permission from the Task Force to make decisions, since it is an independent body and is empowered by the laws to operate without influence.