No more than 10 workstations for national recount- GECOM Chair advises

—recount to commence in shortest possible time

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, April 17, 2020

The national recount of votes cast in the March 2, 2020, General and Regional elections will see the use of no more than 10 workstations, Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh has advised.

In an email to the six commissioners today, Justice Singh said her decision takes into account all of the circumstances in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the requirement of social distancing.

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GECOM Chairman, (ret’d) Justice Claudette Singh

She said her decision is also subject to the availability of the requisite equipment and technology to display the ballots; that each work station should tabulate its own results and for security reasons, all work stations should be located inside the Conference Centre building.

The Chair said that she has written to the Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who is also Chairman of the National COVIDd-19 task force with some specific requests.

The Prime Minister has since indicated that an urgent meeting of the task force will be convened to discuss those requests and a response would be provided shortly.

In light of this decision, GECOM said the recount process will commence in the shortest possible time.

The elections body had said earlier that it would be seeking a waiver of the 6pm curfew implemented by the government, in its fight against the novel coronavirus, to facilitate the recounting process, which has been proposed to be between 09:00hrs and 17:00 hrs daily.

The decision by the Chair today has brought the compromise sought by the CARICOM high-level team, which had expressed concerns Thursday over a 20-workstation proposal by PPP commissioners.

CARICOM had also raised the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the threats posed by personnel coming together with 20 workstations.

The decision also falls closely in line with the proposal made by Commissioner Vincent Alexander who had suggested the use of eight workstations. He offered the proposal after visiting the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) on Thursday, where the recount is scheduled to take place.

The 20 workstation proposal by the PPP, would have seen stations being set up outside of the conference centre; a move Alexander had stressed would have posed serious security risks as well as a possible recurrence of what he said was the  “mob situation” that occurred at the Ashmins building last month.

“This is the concern that I had raised on several occasions when raising my own proposition. The calculation shows that if we were to have 20 workstations, we would have somewhere in the vicinity of 300 persons assembling. It is my humble opinion that in the context of COVID-19, you cannot have 300 persons in one place at this time,” had said on Thursday.

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