CEO maintains he has abided by the law
—ordered to present report based on recount figures
DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 13, 2020
Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Keith Lowenfield today maintained that he has been acting within the confines of the law and that his elections report reflects the edicts of Guyana’s Constitution.
The CEO was part of a Commission meeting this afternoon where his final report submitted on Saturday was under deliberation.
That report showed that some 475,118 valid votes were cast in the March 2, 2020, General and Regional elections, with the incumbent APNU+AFC acquiring 236,777, while the PPP followed with 229, 330 votes.
But that report was rejected by the Chair and opposition Commissioners and saw Justice Singh making another order that the CEO presents another report by 14:30 hours on Tuesday reflecting numbers emanating from the National Vote Recount.
The CEO has been maintaining that the Chair’s request flies in the face of the recent Judgement of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) which ruled on July 1, that Order 60 of 2020 or the National Recount Order could not be used to create a “new regime” for Guyana’s General Elections when there exist Article 177 of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA).
In a letter seeking guidance from the Chair on Friday, the CEO stated that the CCJ has endorsed the view that GECOM cannot determine credibility.
He said it, therefore, holds that Order 60 of 2020 cannot be executed in its entirety. As a result, “a final credible count as conceived by the commission and expressed in the Order cannot be attained.”
Up until today, Justice Singh has not provided the guidance sought by the CEO but has for the third time, directed that he submits a report on the very Order that was disregarded by the CCJ.
Commissioner Vincent Alexander told journalists today that he is not in agreement with the Chair, who also told the CEO that should he fail to present the report requested, the task will be delegated to his deputy.
“In a judge-like manner, the Chairman reverted to the 16 of June and has once again instructed the CEO to prepare a report in keeping with the results of the recount. She simply gave a ruling in a judge-like manner as to what should happen hereafter,” Alexander told reporters outside GECOM this afternoon.
He reminded that the CCJ has pronounced on the illegality of the national vote recount. The 33-day exercise was undertaken by the elections commission in May to determine the credibility of the March 2 elections. Though massive incidences of fraud were uncovered, and a report of the same was submitted to the Commission, the CEO was asked to submit his report with figures including fraudulent votes.
Commissioner Alexander has opined that the commission should have a non-declaration because of the massive fraud affecting over 200,000 votes.
“My own disposition is that if we are in fact to assuage the contesting parties, then the best option for us is a non-declaration. The fact that it is argued that we can use the declarations of the ten regions as to do with strict laws. If we are to look at strict law, the ten declarations have not been contested.”
The commission will meet again tomorrow.