GECOM only entity to set conditions for recount – President Granger
−says exercise will satisfy questions raised by observers, citizenry
DPI, GUYANA, Sunday, March 15, 2020
His Excellency President David Granger today maintained that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) remains the only constitutional body that can set the conditions for a national recount and that the commission should be allowed to craft the Terms of Reference (ToR) governing the relationship between itself and CARICOM.
The Head of State said too that the national recount of votes cast in the March 2, 2020, General and Regional elections which will be overseen by a high-level CARICOM team, will satisfy questions raised by both local and international observers and Guyanese on a whole.
In a statement this afternoon, the Head of State detailed the events following the March 2 polls which have led to him seeking the assistance of the CARICOM for a total recount of ballots.
“The General and Regional Elections of 2nd March 2020 were conducted peacefully and in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Guyana. The events, thereafter, have marred the excellent work of the Elections Commission. The electoral process, as initiated by the Elections Commission, is incomplete. The Elections Commission is the sole authority for making a declaration of the results of the General and Regional Elections,” the President said in the release.
The Head of State said since March, 4, the political opposition has been doing everything to obstruct the work of GECOM. That obstruction included approaches to the Supreme Court on three separate occasions, the invasion of the Office of the Returning Officer for District Four and statements by observer missions which he said created uncertainty in the minds of the citizenry.
As a result of the delays and statements by the observer missions, President Granger explained, CARICOM sent a five-member delegation of Prime Ministers to Guyana on a two-day mission on 11-12 March to work with stakeholders to craft a path forward out of the present political situation.
He said in response to the CARICOM Initiative by the Prime Ministers, he agreed that a ‘total national recount’ could be done to satisfy the questions raised by the observers and the citizenry.
The President 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.
“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 Commission and advised against provocation by “certain lawless elements who committed acts of violence against innocent school children, nurses and police officers.”
In the meantime, President Granger urges that as the country awaits the conclusion of the electoral process, that all be reminded of the very difficult public health environment occasioned by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“I appeal to the public to remain calm and to implement all the advisories relating to personal hygiene, social distancing and overall infection prevention and control.”