By Feona Morrison
A national recount of all ballots cast in the March 02, 2020 General and Regional Elections throughout the 10 administrative regions commences this morning at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).
The recount will proceed continuously each day, including weekends and holidays, from 08:00 to 19:00hrs, at the ACCC, for a period of 25 days, which will be subject to a review during the course of the first week.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has announced that audio of the recount proceedings will be live streamed via its website, as well as its Facebook, and YouTube pages. In fact, last evening GECOM began testing the facilities on its Facebook page.
When it comes to the tabulation of the Statement of Recount, this will be live streamed visually and audibly.
Containers filled with ballot boxes were transported to the venue yesterday under tight security from members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF). Representatives of political parties will be permitted to keep watch on the ballot boxes.
GECOM has committed to publishing photos of the ballots boxes as they are removed from the containers to assure the citizenry that they have not been tampered with.
There were 2,339 polling stations in the elections. The ballot boxes contain the votes of over 600,000 electors. According to a gazetted Order governing the recount, staffers of GECOM will start off today with simultaneous counts of the ballots for four electoral districts.
There are 10 workstations. The Order stipulates that the recount shall commence with the allocation of ten workstations as follows: District 1 – two workstations; District 2 – two workstations; District 3 – three workstations and District 4 – three workstations.
The recount for District 4 shall continue at the three workstations assigned to it. The recounts for Districts 5 through 10 shall be conducted based on the completion of, and at the workstations assigned to, Districts 1, 2 and 3.
Each of the workstations will be manned by at least four staffers of GECOM; provisions have been made to accommodate a local and foreign observer at each workstation.
Among the international elections observers on board are those from the Commonwealth and Organization of American States (OAS). From all indications, observers from the Carter Centre will not be here as they were not granted permission by the national COVID-19 Task Force to enter Guyana.
Nevertheless, the high-level CARICOM team will be allowed to examine the workstations.
The delegation includes: Senior Lecturer at University of the West Indies, Cynthia Barrow-Giles; Supervisor of Electoral Commission of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sylvester King and Commissioner at Electoral Commission of Antigua and Barbuda, John Jarvis.
Following the recount, the team will submit a report to GECOM.
Once the recount is completed, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield will compile a report on the final count for all 10 electoral districts.
That report will be submitted to the Commission which will then make a determination on the count.
The Order states that after deliberating on the report, the Commission will “determine whether it should request the Chief Elections Officer to use the data as the basis for the submission of a report to the Commission” for the declaration of the final results.
Two tents have been set up on the lawns of the ACCC to accommodate media operatives.
Once there are briefings inside ACCC, providing that media operatives have accreditation from GECOM, they will be allowed entry into the building, says Yolanda Ward, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of GECOM.