GECOM to increase workstations to accelerate national recount

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, May 12, 2020

To increase the pace of the national recount of the ballots cast at the March 2 General and Regional Elections and make the 25-day deadline, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) hopes to increase the number of workstations being utilised.

Along with the additional workstations, GECOM also hopes to get permission to have the recount time extended beyond the 7pm deadline.

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GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander

Commissioner Vincent Alexander said while these plans are in train, GECOM will still have to await a decision from the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF), that has been mandated to establish policies and guidelines geared at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He said the commission is obligated to work with whatever advice it receives from the task force. “It for the COVID-19 [task force] to say to us, whether the potential spaces we have identified can accommodate the numbers we have identified.”

Earlier today Commissioners Alexander and Robeson Benn checked the conference centre and found five spaces where workstations can be established.

The national recount is currently ongoing at 10 workstations in the ACCC.  In at least eight of those stations, up to 16 persons operate daily. Two of the stations have at least 10 persons each.

With the current process, over 400 persons occupy the ACCC each day.      These include party representatives, local and international observers, GECOM staff, members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), food handlers and members of the maintenance crew.

With such a number, there remains a cause for concern, in light of the current pandemic.

“We are 400 and therefore we certainly have to be concerned if we are to continue,” Alexander told the media.

Other procedural decisions taken at the commission meeting today include plans to review the checklist to establish at what point will the opening of envelopes will be critical to the recount.

The narrative of the observation reports will also be examined, to ensure they convey only anomalies and irregularities and not minor issues, he relayed.

A substantive discussion will be had on Wednesday.

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