The actual recount of the ballots cast in the March 2 General and Regional Elections, hit an early morning snag after some locks that were placed on three containers could not be opened. It is still unclear what the issue is, as both government and opposition officials have different versions of what really caused the delay.

Those containers contained ballots from Regions One, Three and Four.
Party agents were allowed to place their locks on the containers and upon opening, all of those representatives were expected to be present with their keys.

Alliance for Change (AFC) Executive Member, and Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, reported to the media that it was the opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) agents who could not find their keys. Those locks had to be cut, he said.

But PPP/C Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali, reported that the locks, after being on the containers for such a long time, were “seized up” and measures had to be taken to remove those padlocks and chains.

The recount did not commence at 8am as expected.

Initially, a tent was placed outside of the compound of the recount venue, the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC), for the media with no seating or washroom facilities available. Two hours later, the media was informed that it was permitted to use the “VIP” viewing area at the Aquatic Centre located in the vicinity of the ACCC.

Over at the ACCC, there were tight security systems in place where even the water and food being carried into the compound were rigorously checked.

Prior to entering the dome, persons were also required to visit the health desk for COVID-19 screening. Observers and party agents were briefed before the actual recount began. The media was not allowed access to that briefing, so it is unclear what that exercise entailed. All the GECOM Public Relations Officer (PRO), Yolanda Ward could say, was that it involved “basic housekeeping matters”.

Meanwhile, Patterson reported also that there were over 300 persons in the building. It was reported previously that the number of persons allowed in the building should be somewhere in the vicinity of 160, taking into consideration the anti-COVID-19 measures.

Patterson said that GECOM has “marginally” increased the number of persons allowed at each workstation. He said that for example, some 14 persons were expected to be allowed to operate at each booth, however, there were 18 persons at the Region Four workstation.

The actual recounting of the ballots is underway.


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