See below a Press Statement from the three PPP/C GECOM Commissioners
On the 13th day of May, 2015, at a meeting of the Commission convened prior to the announcement of preliminary results of the said elections, the Chief Elections Officer, aforesaid, disclosed that it goes against his conscience to disclose the results in his possession, for the following reasons:
1.Variances in the data contained in the Statements of Poll within his and those in the possession of the Returning Officers of the respective Electoral Districts.
2.The number of votes cast as recorded on some of the Statements of Poll in his possession far exceeded the number of electors on the official list of electors for the corresponding division.
At the said meeting, in discussing the aforesaid discrepancies it was revealed that the layout of some of the Statements of Poll that were received by the Chief Election Officer differed from those officially issued by the Guyana Elections Commission. This view was shared by several members of the Commission who recalled observing several different Statements of Poll before they reached the Chief Elections Officer. This led to the belief by the Commission that there were fraudulent Statements of Poll which were inserted into the GECOM machinery, and were eventually used in the tabulation of the final results.
It was unanimously agreed at the said meeting that the Statements of Poll deemed to be irregular by the Chief Elections Officer will not be used in the release of the preliminary results by him. At a Press Conference held at 9pm on the said 13th May, the Chief Elections Officer announced results of 1809 (one thousand, eight hundred and nine) polling stations, thereby excluding results from 490 (four hundred and ninety) polling stations. This led us to the belief that there were at least 490 (four hundred and ninety) Statements of Poll affected by the irregularities disclosed by the Chief Elections Officer.
On the 14th day of May, 2015, the said Chief Elections Officer made a public announcement of the irregularities disclosed at the meeting of the previous day, including stating that the irregularities affected “many” Statements of Poll. This information was reiterated by the Chairman of the Commission, who was also present at the said Press Conference. Notwithstanding the public disclosures by the Chief Elections Officer, he proceeded to announce the preliminary results of all 2299 polling stations across the country.
On the 15th day of May, 2015, a delegation from the People’s Progressive Party/Civic met with the Commission to discuss the said irregularities and provided a sample of 22 (twenty two) Statements of Poll and requested that the corresponding ballot boxes be opened to verify the said results. The Chairman gave an undertaking to open the said 22 (twenty two) ballot boxes be opened to verify the said results. This position was later recanted at a meeting of the Commission that continued immediately after the departure of the delegation aforesaid.
We made requests of the Chief Elections Officer, pursuant to the disclosures aforesaid, for the following information:
- what steps, if any, were taken to ascertain the authenticity of and the information contained in all the Statements of Poll within his possession;
- the total number of Statements of Poll affected by the irregularities;
- what steps, if any, were taken to correct the discrepancies as aforesaid;
- the extent to which the discrepancies affected the overall results of the said elections.
Up to the 16th day of May, 2015, at a meeting of the Commission specially convened to receive, and, if appropriate, ratify the results of the said elections, the said Chief Elections Officer refused and/or neglected to provide to the Commission, the requested information. At that meeting, we were presented with the official declarations of the Returning Officers of each of the ten (10) Electoral Districts of Guyana, as well as, two (2) spreadsheets, both under the hand of Mr. Keith Lowenfield, Chief Elections Officer, containing the results of the Regional and General Elections. The results were not presented in a manual form, as is also required by law.
Upon our request, a copy of the report of the Information Technology Department, which was tasked with encoding and tabulating data contained in Statements of Poll from all of the Electoral Divisions across Guyana, was provided. The report from the Information Technology Department differed significantly from the spreadsheets presented by the Chief Elections Officer, and the Chairman withdrew the said report.
In light of the glaring inconsistencies and in the absence of satisfactory explanations of same, we were left no option but to vote against the declaration and publication of the said results by the Commission. The other 3 (three) members of the Commission, along with the Chairman, then voted in favour of the said declaration and publication of the said results.
On the 20th day of May, 2015, Sase R. Gunraj wrote, in his capacity as Commissioner, to the Chief Elections Officer requesting the following information:
- Results from each Electoral District, disaggregated by Polling Division, as compiled by the Chief Elections Officer;
- Results from each Electoral District, disaggregated by Polling Division, as compiled by the Returning Officer of each Electoral District;
- Report from the Information Technology Department, disaggregated by Polling Station;
- Photocopies and/or electronic copies of Statements of Poll of each Polling Station, as submitted to the Chief Elections Officer;
- Photocopies and/or electronic copies of Statements of Poll of each Polling Station, as submitted to the Returning Officer of each Electoral District.
On the 21st day of May, 2015, Sase Gunraj, aforesaid, received a response from the Chief Elections Officer acknowledging receipt of the correspondence and stating that he requires the consent of the Commission to release the requested information. Information similar to the which was requested was provided to the Commission, as a matter of course, after every past election.
Interestingly, no meeting of the Commission has been convened by the Chairman since the meeting of 16th May, aforesaid, in spite of the many issues that are still outstanding, regarding the conduct and outcome of the said elections.