Valid votes already determined by GECOM; nothing preventing declaration – Jagdeo

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Bharrat Jagdeo, General Secretary of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C)

Reacting to the ruling of the Court of Appeal today, General Secretary of the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), Bharrat Jagdeo said that there is nothing preventing the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from moving ahead in making an official declaration of the results of March 2 General and Regional Elections since the issue of “valid votes” has already been “settled” by the Commission.

Jagdeo was at the time giving an initial reaction to the decision by the Court of Appeal regarding the interpretation of Article 177 (4) of the Constitution of Guyana in the case  brought by Coalition supporter, Eslyn David.

“The issue of valid votes had already been determined by the Commission and should set the stage for a declaration,” Jagdeo said during a virtual presentation.

He explained that the Commission had already decided what valid votes are when it directed Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to present his report based on the figures coming out of the national recount which show that the PPP/C has secured more valid votes that any other party that contested the polls.

“Total valid votes have already been determined by the Commission…They didn’t do it on the whims or the fancies of the APNU or Lowenfield, they did it on the basis of documentary evidence presented to them by Lowenfield,” Jagdeo posited.

Jagdeo added that all the International and Local Observers have already determined that the recount was credible and the final declaration should be on the basis of those results.

“On the question of validity of votes, clearly the Court of Appeal could not mean that Lowenfield or any single political party, and in this case APNU, can solely determine what valid votes are.”

“This has to be determined on a process…and we are contending that this is already catered for in our laws,” Jagdeo argued.

The General Secretary said that the coalition is desperately trying to use all avenues, including the court system and elements within the electoral machinery to hang on to power.

“Lowenfield and APNU are not trying to determine valid votes, they are trying to invalidate valid votes. That is the issue here.”

Jagdeo noted that based on the narrative being pushed by the Coalition, “285,000 voters will lose their votes.”

The Court of Appeal today agreed by majority decision to issue an order that there be an interpretation of the words “more votes are cast” in Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution of Guyana.