Still no final recount plan; Commission to meet again tomorrow

FILE: GECOM Chair Claudette Singh and other Commissioners

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is expected to meet again on Wednesday after the meeting held today (Tuesday), resulted in the Commission still not having a final revised elections recount plan which would have paved the way for the long-delayed process to commence.

Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, is now tasked with incorporating all the concerns/ clarifications expressed at today’s meeting and present a revised plan at the next meeting set for Wednesday at 10:30hrs.

Opposition-nominated Commissioner, Sase Gunraj, in a brief comment said that he was very disappointed that a final draft of the Secretariat’s plan was not presented at today’s meeting.

The Opposition-nominated Commissioners had also submitted their own proposal which would have seen the utilisation of more work stations and finishing the process in way less days when compared to Lowenfield’s plan.

The Commission is also expected to undertake a site visit to Arthur Chung Conference Centre where the recount is expected to take place.

INews understands also that a formal invitation was resent to the CARICOM team to return to observe the process.

Since the elections were held over a month ago, a winner is yet to be announced. The majority of observers who scrutinised the tabulation process have pronounced it to have not been credible.

GECOM itself had come in for much of the criticism, with repeated attempts being made by Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo to subvert the process going unchecked by the Chairwoman.

Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield

Despite Singh promising that she would facilitate a recount, attempts to have the recount done at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre never took off because of delays, more controversy and ultimately, a member of the coalition party securing an injunction from High Court Judge Franklyn Holder against the exercise.

The injunction was then thrown out by the Full Court and the Appeal Court upheld this decision, leaving the way clear for GECOM to conduct its recount and finally determine a winner of the elections.

But when given a chance to draft a proposed plan for the recount, Lowenfield drafted one that said the recount would last 156 days.

After a firestorm of criticism, Lowenfield was ordered to return to the drawing board and revise his proposal.