All set for national recount on Monday

─ process to commence with region four ballots

By Alexis Rodney

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) this evening indicated its readiness for the commencement of the recount of the ballots cast in the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.

The process, which will be overseen by a five-member high-level team from CARICOM, will commence in district four, which has been the centre of contention over the last week. The ballots will be counted at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Lillendal.

GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander told media operatives this evening that the Commission had a very productive meeting with the CARICOM team which was headed by Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque.

“We were able to determine the TORs [Terms Of Reference] for the team from CARICOM, determine that work should start tomorrow and should be preceded by a site visit to ensure that logistical arrangements are put in place before work commences.”

Alexander said the CARICOM team suggested that the recount begins with Region Four since it is “fresh”. The consequence of that logic, he noted, however, will not allow for the number sequence of the region to be followed. Rather, the counting will be done from the largest area to the smallest.

At an earlier meeting today, Commissioner Charles Corbin said that that the process will remain anchored in GECOM’s procedures and the laws and constitution of Guyana with oversight from the team.

President David Granger had earlier today concluded that GECOM is the only constitutional body that can set the conditions for a national recount including the crafting of the Terms of References governing the relationship between itself and CARICOM.

Head of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Barbados Hon. Mia Amor Motley, had on Saturday, March 14,  accepted an invitation by Guyana’s Head of State, for the body to overlook the recounting of ballots in all regions, which he said would satisfy questions raised by both local and international observers and Guyanese on a whole.

The high-level observer team includes its chairman, former Attorney-General and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Dominica Francine Baron, former Minister of Finance of Grenada Anthony Boatswain; Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government of UWI Cynthia Barrow-Giles; Chief Electoral Officer of Barbados Angela Taylor; and Chief Elections Officer of Trinidad and Tobago Fern Narcis-Scope

President Granger said he had proposed that the CARICOM initiative should operate within the legal framework of the Constitution of Guyana and respect the role of the Elections Commission and the rulings of the Supreme Court.

“The Organisational Structure which should embody supervisory and technical elements should be determined by the Elections Commission,” he stated, noting that the government looks forward to a ‘total national recount’ being completed as soon as possible under the auspices of the Elections Commission,” he had said in his message to the nation.

“Guyanese, I iterate that I have no role to play in the work of the Elections Commission. I cannot bring the process to an end; the Elections Commission must be allowed to do its work. I am committed to the rule of law and the Constitution. I respect the integrity and autonomous nature of the Elections Commission. I will abide by the declarations of the Elections Commission as I have abided by the rulings of the Court,” The President stated.

He urged citizens to be patient as the country complies with the rulings of the Court and the decisions of the Elections Commission.