National Recount: Still no start date; Chairman signals support for partial live-streaming

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GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has still not identified a date for the national recount to begin following another meeting of Commissioners today (Wednesday).

Providing a brief update to the media today, APNU/AFC-nominated Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, said that plans are progressing smoothly for the recount to begin, but the commencement of the process is dependent on the arrival of the CARICOM-high-level observer team. The team is expected to be in Guyana on Thursday.

Commissioner Vincent Alexander

Alexander said that once the team arrives, the exercise could begin shortly after.

Meanwhile, the issue of having the national recount live-streamed is still not completely off the table as Chairperson of GECOM Justice Claudette Singh, is expected to make a final determination after another suggestion was made to her for consideration during today’s Commission meeting.

Peoples Progressive Party-nominated Commissioner, Sase Gunraj,who indicated that while the Chairperson voted against a motion to have the recount process live-streamed in its entirety last week, there were certain aspects that she was still in support of.

“The end position today (Wednesday) in relation to live streaming is that the Chairman,  having her own concerns and having her own preferences in relation to live streaming of the count or parts thereof …a suggestion which was made and accepted by her; that she will consider the technical aspects of it and determine which aspects she will want to move on with, this decision currently rests with her,” Gunraj said.

Almost every stakeholder involved in the elections had signalled their support for live-streaming of the national recount on the basis that it would have boosted public confidence in the process and made it easier for the results to be accepted by all parties.

Commissioner Sase Gunraj

Justice Singh herself, in her written submissions to the court, had highlighted the importance of GECOM and the electoral process enjoying public confidence so that the election results would be accepted by all.

Gunraj also disclosed that a decision was made to extend the hours of the recount; which will now be from 8am to 7pm. This now brings the daily total hours to eleven.

When asked about the duration of the recount; he explained that three main factors will ultimately determine how long the process will take – the number of hours worked, the time taken on a ballot box and the number of work stations being used to carry out the exercise.