GECOM stalls! …Still no decision on way forward for vote recount

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GECOM Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and Chairperson Justice (Rtd) Claudette Singh

After a meeting earlier today (Thursday), the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), has not made any definitive decision on how it intends to move forward regarding the urgent need to carry out a recount of the votes cast in the March 2 polls.

It is exactly one month since the elections were held and a winner is yet to be declared. At the centre of the controversy is the declaration of District Four results by Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, which all stakeholders, including the international observers, had labelled as lacking credibility.

Government Commissioners Desmond Trotman, Vincent Alexander and Charles Corbin

After its meeting this morning, there was still no agreement on how the Commission intends to move forward with the recount in order to bring the process to its finality. Opposition-nominated Commissioner Robeson Benn has tabled a motion proposing that GECOM proceeds immediately with having the recount.

The meeting is scheduled to reconvene this afternoon at 15:00 hrs at which time it is expected that a vote will be taken on the motion.

The issue of having the recount of the votes is split along party lines; this could result in the GECOM Chairperson, Justice (Rtd) Claudette Singh, being required to have the casting vote in order to break the deadlock.

Opposition-nominated Commissioners; from left, Sase Gunraj, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick

Justice Singh had given her commitment to the Court and all other stakeholders, on numerous occasions before, that she was committed to having a transparent recount in order to lend credibility to the elections results.

Government-aligned commissioners, on Wednesday, requested additional time to “study” a decision of the Full Court which was handed down on Monday. That decision discharged injunctions against the electoral body from going ahead with a recount.

The Government-aligned commissioners’ move was seen as yet another effort to stall the process. Commissioner Sase Gunraj, had called the position by Government “unacceptable”, and reminded that “the judgment of the Full Court was broadcast live on national media. The world had access to it. The judgment was pellucid and requires little explanation, if any.”

He had said, “The nation and world anxiously await a resolution of this matter that is now one month old.”

As recent as today (Thursday), the Commonwealth Group of Foreign Ministers issued a strong call for GECOM to act immediately to ensure the results of the elections are transparent and credible.

“Ministers called upon the Guyana Elections Commission to immediately fulfil its constitutional mandate and ensure the sovereign right of the people of Guyana to duly elect their Government is respected through a transparent and credible counting and tabulation process,” the Foreign Ministers said in a statement.