Jagdeo says President Granger, GECOM Chair could intervene to stop confusion over recount

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One of the containers transporting ballot boxes to GECOM

The recount of all the votes cast that was supposed to start on Monday has been delayed, first by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) insisting that an agreement be signed for the Caribbean Community (Caricom) to supervise the process, then by the Ministry of Public Health showing up to fumigate the location for “ants.”

Party agents refused to leave the location for the recount, the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC), since they were keeping watch on the containers containing ballot boxes. This led to them being threatened with arrest by Riot Police who were called to the scene.

At an emergency press conference on Monday night, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo slammed the attempts being made to frustrate the agreement he along with President David Granger reached with Caricom.

Jagdeo made it clear that as leaders with authority, both Granger and GECOM Chair Claudette Singh could have intervened to stop their underlings from causing confusion. Thus, he noted that Granger and Singh are ultimately responsible.

According to Jagdeo, GECOM Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) Roxanne Myers arrived at the Centre and informed GECOM Commissioner Robeson Benn that he could not keep watch over the containers. According to him, GECOM is set on moving persons away from the ballot boxes.

He was suspicious that this was part of a plan to prevent the recount from happening. He noted that the Public Health Ministry, led by People’s National Congress (PNC) Chairperson Volda Lawrence, has been seeking to frustrate the process.

Jagdeo pointed to what happened on Saturday, when Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George was forced to use Diamond Magistrate’s Court to hear a case brought by the PPP to secure a recount because the High Court was being fumigated that very day.

Jagdeo was suspicious that this was all part of a plot to tamper with the ballots, which are locked away in the containers. According to him, his party will nevertheless remain vigilant.