CARICOM report is “self-contradictory”- Aubrey Norton
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, June 16, 2020
The report submitted by the CARICOM team to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is riddled with contradictions. This is according to Executive Member of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Aubrey Norton who was also a counting agent at the national recount process.
The three-member CARICOM scrutinizing team concluded in its report that the outcome of the recount of votes cast on March 2, 2020 was “reasonably credible.” However, their conclusion was described as being “bizarre” by Norton. “I was involved throughout the process and all that emerged was fraud,” he stated during an appearance on ‘Straight Up’.
The report also stated that the team was only able to observe 423 ballot boxes out of 2,339 which represents a mere 18 percent.
Despite saying that the outcome of the recount was reasonably credible, the team in their report also highlighted that there were major irregularities. Some of which they pointed out were missing oaths of identity and the missing six-digit number from ballots among others.
Additionally, on page 41 of the CARICOM report, it states that “the team found it disturbing that in work station 8 on Saturday, June 6, 2002, in ballot box number 4730, 16 clearly marked ballots which had been cast for the APNU+AFC party list of candidates on March 2, 2020, were erroneously added to the ballots cast for the PPP/Civic list of candidates and found by the work station staff at the recount.”
The report further stressed that “we cannot fathom why this may have been erroneously done without perhaps pointing to some deliberate malice and or mischief.”
Norton is of the view that the conclusion of the report by the team may have been influenced by the comments made by incoming CARICOM Chairman, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
The CARICOM report “is self-contradictory. On the one hand it argues for a total revamp of the GECOM system because it is not geared to manifest the will of the people and then they concluded that the elections manifested the will of the people,” Norton stated.
He further questioned, “how can it be reasonably credible when thousands of votes were impacted by the absence of documentation.” Norton who played a critical role in the recount process said that the report by CARICOM is claiming that the recount was merely a numerical one when in fact that the gazetted Order states it is an audit of votes cast.
He said it is “utterly strange” especially since it was CARICOM who asked for a gazetted order but in turn violated the very order they were guided by.
According to Norton, the only report that deals with the recount process in its entirety is the report compiled by the Chief Elections Officer.
“The reality is this recount was guided by a gazetted order which indicated very clearly what should be done and since that was done and that produced an observation report which said essentially that the entire process was compromised, I believe that we are compelled to deal with the Keith Lowenfield’s report because statistically CARICOM report is flawed and the only report that deals with all elements of the process and would have given you a clear indication of where the problems are was the Lowenfield report,” he underscored.
The recount process is currently in its penultimate stage, that is the review of the report by the Chief Elections Officer and CARICOM by the Elections Commission’s Chairperson and its Commissioners.
The final stage will see a declaration made by the Chairperson after having studied the report.