Mingo not removed from proposed recount despite objections from several stakeholders

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Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo and Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield

Controversial Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, one of the key Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Officers alleged to be part of an attempt to rig the 2020 General and Regional Elections, has not been ruled out of the proposed recount by the electoral body.

This was intimated to media operatives on Thursday when the Commission wrapped up its meeting for the day, to reconvene today (Friday) since it is yet to finalise the work programme or complete a draft order.

Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) Commissioner to the electoral body, Sase Gunraj, told media operatives that the Chairperson, retired Justice Claudette Singh, did not appear inclined to removing Mingo and others from the process.

Speaking with reporters on the personnel to be involved in the recount process, Gunraj disclosed that the issue about officers against whom allegations were levelled was brought up and specifically discussed at the meeting.

He said, however, that “The chairman (retired Justice Claudette Singh) has said that she is of the opinion that some of the officers are statutory officers, and that she is not inclined to remove those persons at this time.”

The PPP Commissioner told media operatives, “I disagree with that position I must say —and I remain adamant — that certain persons ought not to participate in this process, particularly the Returning Officer Mingo, who has brought us to this position.”

Government aligned Commissioner Vincent Alexander, who also spoke to the matter of the discussions surrounding the use of GECOM personnel in the recount, specifically the Region Four RO, said, “No role has been defined for Mr Mingo.”

Commissioner Sase Gunraj

Corroborating Gunraj’s position that the matter had been brought up for discussion, Alexander suggested that one Commissioner “reeled out a number of names of persons who he saying should not be involved in the exercise”.

According to Alexander, however, the disposition of some of the commissioners is that there are no specific allegations against the officials, and he added, “If there is no specific allegation, then there is no basis for us to say they should not be involved in the exercise.”

Commissioner Vincent Alexander

Mingo is being alleged to have declared fraudulently tabulated results for Region Four using a suspect spreadsheet and not the official statements of poll to declare a victory for the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC).

The matter was dragged out in the courts, which subsequently found that the results were unlawful, and subsequent decision had been taken by the Commission for the recount.