Now that the Appellate Court has cleared the way for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to proceed with conducting the recount of the votes cast in the March 2 polls, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has made an appeal for the observers from the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Organization of American State, the European Union, the Carter Center, and CARICOM to return to Guyana for the commencement of the recount by GECOM.
In a statement issued today, the PSC noted that GECOM will have to set definitive timelines for the commencement of the recount to accommodate the travel of the International Observers.
The PSC said it looks forward to the Chairman of GECOM immediately delivering on her Constitutional obligations to the people and nation to ensure fairness and impartiality in completing the conduct of the elections.
Following is the full statement from the PSC:
The Guyana Court of Appeal has ruled that GECOM has the power to proceed with a recount of the ballots cast in the March 2nd General and Regional Elections. The Private Sector Commission (PSC), serving as an Accredited Observer of these Elections, asks GECOM to make immediate arrangements for the commencement of the recount in District 4, in accordance with its Constitutional authority recognized by the Court.
The Private Sector Commission is committed to continue to observe this recount and believes it is essential that the international community and all of the International Observers resume their commitment and active presence to observe the recount. The PSC, therefore, appeals directly to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Organization of American State, the European Union, the Carter Center, and the Caribbean Community to return to Guyana for the commencement of the recount by GECOM.
GECOM will, of course, have to set definitive timelines for the commencement of the recount to accommodate the travel of International Observers.
It is the considered position of the PSC, after an exhaustive examination of the facts before us, that, it is only in District 4 that the tabulation and declaration of the results by Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, was clearly fraudulent and has no credibility.
The Private Sector Commission maintained a substantial team of Election Observers across the country and found absolutely no evidence to suggest that the declaration of the election results was not credible and in compliance with the electoral laws in all the Districts except District 4. The PSC is fortified in this view by the fact that none of the several other international Observer Teams reported any irregular or unlawful conduct in respect of any other aspect of the electoral process other than the tabulation and declaration of the results of District 4 by Returning Officer Mingo.
The PSC is, therefore, convinced that it would be an entire waste of time and wholly unnecessary for GECOM to conduct a recount of the ballots cast in any District other than District 4.The PSC holds that any request to extend the recount to Districts other than District 4 to be a deliberate, unreasonable and unacceptable attempt to delay the conclusion of the recount and urges GECOM to confine a recount to District 4.
Further, the restrictions to travel now imposed as a result of the COVID-19 virus would make the implementation of a countrywide recount of the ballots an almost insurmountable exercise which, as we have pointed out, is entirely frivolous and unnecessary.
The PSC is satisfied, from its own observations, that the involvement of the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo and the Deputy Returning Officer, Roxanne Myers, in the tabulation and verification process in District 4, materially contributed to the fraudulent tabulation and verification of the process and, it is, therefore, obvious that these Officers must not be involved in the process of the recount.
In this regard, the PSC notes the reiteration by the Full Court and the Court of Appeal, in their recent pronouncements, of the Courts’ recognition of the wide and extraordinary powers of GECOM, conferred by the Constitution and the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, to do all things necessary and take such steps that are fair, impartial and expedient. GECOM is therefore duly empowered to remove these errant officers and replace them with others, so that the public confidence and integrity, which the Chairperson said is so essential for the electoral system, can be restored.
The PSC considers that the reality of the restrictions placed on international travel by the COVID-19 virus pandemic demands that arrangements are made for the recount proceedings to be broadcast live on radio and television and live-streamed for international reception by those Observer teams who are unable to be physically present at GECOM for the recount proceedings.
The PSC looks forward to the Chairman of GECOM immediately delivering on her Constitutional obligations to the people and nation to ensure fairness and impartiality in completing the conduct of the elections.