Even as the caretaker APNU/AFC coalition through its agent, Misegna Jones, is seeking to legally bind the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to use the initial 10 declarations made back in March prior to the National Recount as the basis for the declaration of the elections results, doing this was previously ruled out by People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Commissioner, Vincent Alexander.
In the application filed last week, the High Court is being asked to set aside the certified results from the 33-day recount exercise and use the widely discredited declarations made by the 10 Returning Officers including embattled Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) RO, Clairmont Mingo, who had heavily inflated the figures from Guyana’s largest voting district in favour of the APNU/AFC.
However, Alexander, during several engagements with the press under the media tent outside the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) during the recount process, was asked whether the Elections Commission is likely to revert to those 10 initial declarations – that were being held in abeyance at the time but have since been discarded by GECOM Chair, (ret’d) Justice Claudette Singh – and he shut down the possibility of this happening.
“In my considered opinion, all things being equal I don’t see us doing that (using the 10 declarations) … I would say that if the recount is completed that that doesn’t appear, to me, to be a likelihood…,” he posited in the May 14 interview.
Further pointed out that there was a possibility of this happening, Alexander had said “That is not an anticipated possibility… All things are possible but if you were to ask me if it’s probability, I would say I don’t see it as a high probability.”
In fact, he had even supported a position expressed earlier by fellow Commission, Opposition-nominated Sase Gunraj, who had suggested that it should be automatic that the results from the recount exercise be used as the basis to direct the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to compile his final elections report for a declaration.
“I would say, all things being equal it should be [automatic to use the recount results],” the Government-nominated Commissioner had stated.
Moreover, Alexander had even ruled out the possibility of the Elections Commission using a mix of both the initial declarations as well as the recount results.
Speaking specifically on the Region One (Barima-Waini) ballot box that got soaked in the container (which was eventually counted as its contents were still intact), Alexander had disclosed that a thought was brought up to use the Statement of Poll (SoP) from that Polling Station. However, his response to that suggestion was that while it was a very practical approach, it was nevertheless an approach that runs in the face of the objective of the recount exercise.
“You can’t be doing a recount and, for one reason or the other, resort to the old count as the basis for determining that you’ve recounted,” he had said – further insisting against using the initial declaration figures.
On the other hand, Alexander had even said during the May 14 interview on the sidelines of the recount that it was GECOM’s responsibility based on the Recount Order to advise Lowenfield on the compilation of his final report.
“We articulated in the order that we would advise the CEO on the compilation of the final report, after he would have made available to us the tabulations and the observations. I don’t think there was any dissenting voice on that,” he had noted.
The Government-nominated Commissioner had explained that the seven-member Elections Commission had taken a unanimous decision that it would advise the CEO on whether to use the recount results to prepare his final elections report.
He added, “I don’t recall any dissenting voice” in taking that decision.
Despite this, however, CEO Lowenfield has continuously disregarded directions of the GECOM Chair to use the recount figures as the basis for the report and instead, has submitted several reports using fraudulent figures – with his most recent one containing Mingo’s fraudulent declaration – all of which favours an APNU/AFC victory.
However, the certified recount exercise show that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic has won the elections with 233,336 votes while the coalition obtained 217,920 votes – a difference of some 15,416 votes.