By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The integrity of the international observers present during Guyana’s general and regional elections is being questioned by Presidential Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), Donald Ramotar, who has refused to concede defeat to the united Opposition, citing a flawed elections process.
Despite several claims by the PPP/C of irregularities during the May 11 elections, international observers, inclusive of the Carter Centre, Organisation of American States (OAS), Commonwealth Observers, Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), American, British and Canadian envoys, have all claimed that the elections were free, fair and credible and even commended the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for the work done.
But Ramotar maintains that the elections were rigged by the APNU+AFC coalition, showing what he deemed as evidence of fake Statements of Poll (SOPs) and incorrect data by GECOM.
“This elections here now, also goes to the integrity of the observers that are involved. If they gave a clear bill of health to an election that is clearly rigged, I don’t know if anybody would want them in their country to observe any elections…this is in their interest too, for their integrity so hope that we get a recount of the ballots,” Ramotar told a news conference at Freedom House on Friday, May 15.
The ABC countries have already dismissed the PPP’s claims of fake SOPs, with the British High Commissioner to Guyana, James Gregory Quinn stating that he supports GECOM’s position that while the fake SOPs were discovered, it was not tabulated as part of the preliminary results released on Thursday, May 14.
In response, Ramotar said that Quinn is “dead wrong” about such. The Presidential Candidate could not say where the fake SOPs originated from.
Meanwhile, Ramotar met on Friday morning with Chairman of GECOM, Dr Steve Surujbally, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and five of the six GECOM commissioners, where he identified what he says are “serious difference” of numbers between SOPs and data by GECOM in tabulating results.
“These differences disclose a consistent pattern of a subtraction of votes from PPP/C and additions of that very number to the APNU+AFC. This information was corroborated by a verification exercise conducted by the Returning Officer of Region 4,” Ramotar said.
He further noted that he submitted a document which details an examination of only 22 of SOPs, which were randomly selected from Region 4 and which show that a substantial difference between the PPP’s SOPs and the information in the possession of GECOM in relation to the said ballot boxes.
As such, the PPP has since requested that GECOM recount the 22 boxes in the presence of political parties and observer teams; that the process of tabulation and the disclosure of the Chief Elections Officer on election results be put on hold until a recount is completed.
According to Ramotar, GECOM has since “undertook” to grant the request. He believes that if a recount is not done in the entire region, then it should at least be done in Region 4.
Ramotar maintains that the elections were fraudulent enough to change the outcome of the results, which indicates the APNU+AFC as the winner. He further noted that if the PPP’s requests are not met and GECOM goes ahead and declares the APNU+AFC as winners, then the coalition will be forming a government that would be undemocratic.