PSC says ‘Observation Reports’ contain “lengthy unverified allegations”, delaying recount

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Chairman, Captain Gerry Gouveia an other members of the Private Sector Commission (PSC)

The Private Sector Commission (PSC), today (Monday), expressed concerns over the content of the Observation Reports, which the organisation says contain “lengthy unverified allegations” and are causing inordinate and unjustified delays in the recount process.

Observation Reports are prepared during the recount process and are presented along with the Statements of Recount (SORs)  as required by the Gazetted Order for the National Recount.

In a letter to the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice Claudette Singh, the PSC stated: “It is our considered view that it is extremely dangerous to be publicising unproven allegations for public consumption”.

The PSC pointed out that the elections process on 2nd March, 2020, was observed and confirmed by both Local and International Observers as entirely credible and smooth.

“We consider it most unfortunate that the Observation Reports are being used to disseminate unverified information in this manner and urge that you instruct that the Observation Reports not be broadcast unless or until its contents are verified,” the letter to the GECOM Chair added.

Following is the full letter:  

11th May, 2020

Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, SC, CCH

Chairman

Guyana Elections Commission

41 High & Cowan Streets

Kingston

Georgetown

Dear Madam Chairman,

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) wishes to commend the organization of the recount process for the General and Regional Elections and the professional commitment and performance being generally demonstrated by the staff of GECOM assigned to conduct the recount.

The Commission, in collaboration with other Local Observers, has been present at every one of the recount stations and at the tabulation of the results.

We have observed that the concerns of all stakeholders are adequately addressed and documented in an Observation Report as required by the Gazetted Order for National Recount.

Once the recount continues in this manner, it will produce a credible recount result.

The Commission, however, has become seriously concerned over party agents being allowed to persistently table matters raising issues based on allegations which are unsupported by the presentation of any credible evidence and which directly question GECOM’s conduct of the elections process on 2nd March, 2020.

We have observed that the tabling of these lengthy unverified allegations are the cause of inordinate and unjustified delays of the recount.

We wish to point out that the elections process on 2nd March, 2020, was observed and confirmed by both Local and International Observers as entirely credible and, most recently, in an official broadcast to the nation by President Granger.

We have observed that during the tabulation, the Observation Reports with unverified allegations and objections are being broadcast publicly without GECOM conducting any investigation as to whether the objections were factual or lawful and without comment from GECOM as to their accuracy or truthfulness.

It is our considered view that it is extremely dangerous to be publicizing unproven allegations for public consumption.

We consider it most unfortunate that the Observation Reports are being used to disseminate unverified information in this manner and urge that you instruct that the Observation Reports not be broadcast unless or until its contents are verified. We further urge that GECOM responds appropriately, promptly and regularly to these allegations made against GECOM’s conduct of the elections which are being placed before the media as a matter of fact.

We wish to recommend that GECOM considers revisiting the tabulation process rather than having it done within a fixed time frame every day. Efforts could be made to clear the backlog. Every SOR completed should be tabulated on the same day it is completed and not left incomplete for the next day. Tabulation should be done continuously rather than in the restricted daily period of 4PM to 630PM.

The PSC looks forward to a credible conclusion of the recount process at the earliest possible time.

Yours sincerely,

Private Sector Commission