The reality of Good Friday and the restrictions imposed in the interest of mitigating COVID 19 have given me the latitude to pay more than usual attention to comments, in the Media, about GECOM and in this instance about Lowenfield, per se, in relation to the “Lowenfield” proposal of 156 days for the Recount.
In that regard, I wish to make the following comments.
There is no “Lowenfield proposal”. From the very inception, the CEO, Lowenfield, was pellucid that since the Recount is to be undertaken under the authority vested in GECOM by Article 162 of the Constitution and section 22 of the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act, which do not specify procedures for a Recount, he would be relying on “guidance” from the Commission with regard to the manner of conduct of what he termed “a Commission Recount”. It is in that regard that the document, which the Commission directed the CEO to prepare, was responsive to written submissions from Commissioners and their oral guidance, both of which were provided. In those submissions Commissioner Benn proposed the following: i. “Two (2) paired Commissioner must initial the recount statement of poll.”(Sic). ii. “Two (2) paired Commissioner to sign accepted Tabulation forms.” (Sic). It is that articulation, given that there can only be three sets of paired Commissioners, which caused the proposal to suggest the use of only three workstations. The CEO may have misunderstood Benn`s proposal, however he should not be lambasted as if he originated the idea of three workstations. More so, since the document was a working/draft document; Commissioner Benn clarified the apparent misunderstanding for consideration in the furtherance of the finalization of the document.
The document did not benefit from detailed discussions, since Commissioner Gunraj, almost preemptively, sought permission to prepare another version, which he subsequently submitted as a joint document of Gunraj/Benn/Shadick, now acclaimed as a PPP/C submission. Permission was granted. It was therefore disingenuous and unethical for Commissioners to take to the Media as if Lowenfield had conjured some plot to have the Recount done in 156 days. His premise was based on Benn`s submission and on an estimation that each box would take approximately two hours to be recounted. The antagonistic Commissioners again, disingenuously, argued that it took one night to do the original count and juxtaposed that to “Lownfield`s” 156 days. The fact is that “Lowenfield`s” 156 days is equivalent to 1560 hours of a sequential process as opposed the election night, 2339 simultaneous counts that would have taken 2339 hours if one hour on average, as is now being touted, is attributed to each count. There could be nothing short of mischief for Commissioners to cast aspersions on a 1560 hours sequential count juxtaposed to the E day 2339 hours simultaneous/lateral counts.
It should be noted that the entire Commission suggested five work stations for the CARICOM supervised Recount and conceded that four would have been undertaken. That too would have influenced the “Lowenfield” proposal, since no operational difference is envisaged, including some form of CARICOM involvement.
The instigated conclusion of the public and personal ridicule of Lowefield in person are grossly miss and ill informed. The Commissioners’ ridicule is at least malicious, albeit that Commissioner Gunraj grudgingly admitted that the proposal may have been influenced, in part and fundamentally, by Benn`s submission.
There may be all sorts of criticisms of Lowenfield and GECOM but the latest is unfound, ridiculous and malicious.