GECOM sets aside March 13 declarations; CEO must use recount results

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Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice Claudette Singh

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice Claudette Singh on Monday decided to set aside the March 13 declarations, which included the fraudulent results for District Four prepared by embattled Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.

By setting aside those declarations, the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield will have no other option but to use the certified recount results in his final elections report.

Opposition Commissioner Sase Gunraj, in providing a brief update to media operatives after he emerged from a crucial Commission meeting today, confirmed that the declarations for the ten administrative regions have been set aside.

“The Chairman proceeded to say that the March 13 declaration which includes the fraudulent declaration by Clairmont Mingo, Returning Officer for Region Four, has been set aside and replaced by the recount tabulation certificates. That I believe is a very important finding and ruling of the Chairman,” Gunraj told the media this afternoon.

This recent action by the Chairperson has put an end to any lingering hope of the incumbent APNU/AFC that Mingo’s discredited figures could be used in any way to give the coalition a false victory.

Justice Singh had written to Lowenfield and instructed him to prepare a final report for final declaration based on the recount results.

Instead, Lowenfield engaged in a back and forth with Justice Singh that culminated in him reverting to using results that included the fraudulent numbers of Region Four.

In fact, it was Mingo’s non-transparent tabulation and declaration that pushed PPP/C and APNU/AFC to agree to a recount in the first place.

The national recount has shown that the PPP/C won the elections with 233,336 votes while the APNU/AFC coalition garnered 217,920.

Meanwhile, in relation to Lowenfield’s conduct, Gunraj said that during today’s meeting, the Chair referred to Article 177 2 (b) which speaks to the Commission acting upon the receipt of a report by the CEO. He said the Chair made it clear that the role of the CEO is not higher than the Commission… “and as a consequence the Commission is not subservient to the CEO”.

According to Gunraj, the Chair reminded Commissioners that the CEO is answerable to the Commission and as a consequence, “must follow the dictates of the Commission.”

Gunraj also detailed that Justice Singh referred to the summary of the Caribbean Court of Justice CCJ) ruling which says that the recount results must be used for the purposes of ascertaining the full and final declaration of the March 2 General and Regional Elections.

In light of this, he said the CEO was ordered by the Chair to present his report by 2pm tomorrow (Tuesday) using the recount figures which show a victory for the PPP/C.

This would be the third opportunity Lowenfield is given to submit his final elections report using the certified recount figures.