GECOM eyes June 13 for completion of national recount

—full deliberation of Observation Reports, tabulation to follow.

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is hoping to conclude the national recount by June 13, but according to Commissioner Vincent Alexander, the process will only be fully completed after a thorough examination of the report by the Chief Elections Officer.

While a section of the commission is hoping for a final declaration after the recount, Alexander said that detailed consideration will have to be given to the “plethora of issues” contained in the Observation Reports.

Upon completion of the process, Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield will be required to present a report comprising the tabulation of the figures as well as the Observation Reports to the seven-member commission.

‘Those reports have a plethora of issues that we have to categorise. We have to deal with issues with the stubs found in a particular ballot box not corresponding with the number of ballots. That is a reality. We have to deal with issues where significant numbers of ballots are unstamped. You have a situation where boxes have half of the ballots stamped and the other half is unstamped,” Alexander told journalists this evening.

The commission met today to review the national recount order which was gazetted two days before the start of the recount process. The review was mainly to consider an extension of the 25-day timeline for the process.

However, Commissioner Alexander said other matters were interjected into the review process.

“The difficulty we are having is that there are those who are trying to prescribe new dates into the order that the order did not previously provide for. The order said that we will have a process that will have 25 days which will be reviewed, but there are attempts now to specify dates for declaration etc. while those we will come to, the Order did not provide for that, only a review of the 25 days,” he stated.

Alexander said the commission is being” manipulated” to review the order to do things that the order did not say “we would do as part of the review. That is where we are stuck.”

“We are going to have, in addition to the ten tabulations, ten observation reports that will have to be discussed, which will take time. If you know what is coming up in terms of the volume of information in those reports, it will take time. Persons are trying to get us to write into the order a conclusion date that will obviously interfere with a thorough discussion of what is in the Observation Reports.”

Commissioner Alexander said the elections body had collectively made an order that provides for credible determination of the results of the elections. That credibility, he said, has to do with much of what is coming out of the Observation Reports.

“We cannot arrive at that credibility without the determination of how we treat what is in the observation report. Some people are trying to avoid the treatment of the report,” he said.

Alexander noted that there are fundamental issues that have to be determined in the course of the consideration of the observation reports and “we cannot allow those who think we are merely doing a numerical recount to get away with that recount when there are so many issues that impact the credibility of the elections. “

The commission will meet again on Friday to craft provisions for the order.