UPDATE ON RECOUNT: 17 more boxes completed up to 2PM

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GECOM PRO, Yolanda Ward

The national recount of the ballots cast in the March 2, polls continues at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) in the presence of party agents, local and international observers and other stakeholders.

Providing a brief update on the recount process for the Day 3 thus far, spokeswoman for the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM), Yolanda Ward, disclosed that 17 ballot boxes have been completed at 2PM today – 4 in Region One, 4 in Region Two, 4 in Region Three, and 5 in Region Four.

On Wednesday and Thursday, a total of 65 boxes were completed. There are 2339 ballot boxes in all.

In relation to the tabulation of the Statements of Recount (SORs), Ward confirmed that of last evening, 23 SORs were tabulated so far, 14 from Region One and 9 from Region Two. This is just about a third of the total SORs completed thus far.

The PRO said that based on the Commission’s decision yesterday, the tabulation process will continue from 5PM to 6:30 PM today.

Various stakeholders have lamented the fact that the tabulation exercise of the SORs is extremely slow and there is need for the Commission to urgently put systems in place to accelerate the pace at which it is moving.

Some party agents have argued that the inclusion and broadcast of the observation reports during the tabulation process is what is responsible for causing the unnecessary delays and confusion.

The Commission had reportedly made a decision, that during the tabulation of the SORs, an observation report will be displayed at the same time with the SOR for that particular ballot box.

In explaining the situation, Ward related: “At the completion of every box, the staff is required to prepare an observation report, so that is being attached to the SOR, I think there might have been some misunderstanding about the decision of the Commission.”

“So what we had is a case this morning where some of the staff; while also preparing the observation report, made notes on the SORs as to some of those observations. There were objections in that regard,” Ward explained.

The GECOM spokeswoman said the Commission will provide clear directives later today as to how to process will move forward in relation to the use of the observation reports.

Ward also noted that at present, no decision was taken in terms of placing the SORs on a website or any “safe space”.

Another update will be provided by the GECOM spokeswoman later this evening.